Human Rights NGOs pin responsibility on Algeria for letting Polisairo use children as soldiers

Human Rights NGOs pin responsibility on Algeria for letting Polisairo use children as soldiers

A coalition of human rights NGOs have renewed their condemnation of the continued use of children as child soldiers by the Polisario and urged Algeria to stop turning a blind eye and assume its responsibility with regards to the human rights violations affecting children under the separatist militias in Tindouf.

This came during an international conference, organized by Africa Culture International NGO, on the sidelines of the 49th session of the Human Rights Council, which brought together rights activists from different rights watchdogs including ACERWC, the  Sahara Observatory for Peace, Democracy and Human Rights (OSPDH), Africa Watch, CIDH, AIPECT and LSDDH.

“The Polisario insists on recruiting children aged 12 and 13 as soldiers,” said the coalition in a statement, adding that the Polisario shocked the international community by forcing children to take part in a military parade recently.

Mothers, who kept anonymity for fear of Polisario retribution, reached out to rescue their children urging pressure from the internationally community to halt the violation of children’s vital rights in the Polisario-run camps, in full sight of Algerian authorities.

Multiple calls have been made by international rights NGOs calling on Algeria to ensure full respect of children’s rights within its territories including the Tindouf camps, notably after a series of articles and videos have been released recently- whose authenticity was confirmed by the UN and the European Parliament- showing the shocking scale of the exploitation of children as soldiers by the Polisario.

The conference also showed shocking data including the fact that 20% of fighters within the Polisairo separatists’ ranks were younger than 16 years old.

The participants pointed to multiple publications and investigations on the violation of children’s rights by the Polisairo, citing in particular an investigation into the recruitment of children by Spanish media Tribuna Libre in 2020, which unveiled how children of Sahrawis held against their will in the camps are separated from their parents and sent to Cuba to undergo indoctrination and military training.

Algeria has not reacted so far to the blatant violations of children’s rights by its Polisario proxies deplored the right NGOs, which urged the immediate release of all children who have been forced to be in military uniform.

They called for criminalizing all parties or states that sponsor or arm the Polisario for its involvement in child recruitment.

They also urged the international community to put pressure on Algeria to put an end to ordeal of the children it has forsaken to the mercy of the brutal militia and called on the international community to end this ordeal and bring psychological support to these children.

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