If there is one undeniable fact in the Tindouf camps, it is that the Algerian army (ANP) supports the Polisario separatists in the massive recruitment of child soldiers within their militias.
The International Center for Research on the Prevention of Child Soldiers (CIRPES) has warned of continued “recruitment that affects children in Algerian-sponsored Tindouf camps amid deafening silence from the international community.” CIRPES strongly condemned the violations and the systematic military recruitment of children in Tindouf, Algeria.
CIRPES also, in a statement issued on Friday, expressed its deep concern about the persistence of the systematic recruitment of child soldiers, after witnessing a parade of hundreds of children, boys and girls, in military uniforms.
“We have directly expressed our deep concerns to the international community and hold Algeria legally and morally responsible for this flagrant violation and disregard for international humanitarian law on its soil”, indicates the press release to this effect.
The Center recalls that Algeria is a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and has the obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of children to life, privacy, freedom of thought and peaceful assembly.
Founded in 2022 in Dakhla, the International Center for Research on the Prevention of Child Soldiers is committed to fighting against the recruitment of child soldiers around the world by raising awareness of their fate, the processes of their recruitment, as well as the underlying causes that fuel the persistence of this scourge. Regarding the Sahara, he calls on all human rights activists, researchers and journalists to act with professionalism and intellectual integrity to avoid any pressure exerted on parents by the Polisario militia.
CIRPES said in a statement that “ the Tindouf camps in Algeria are still experiencing a systematic and continuous recruitment of children, as they are filmed in TV and other program clips “. According to the same source, these deep fears of the continued recruitment of children in the Tindouf camps have been transferred to the international community, with Algeria bearing full responsibility for this flagrant violation“. The CIRPES, further underlined ” the need for Algeria to respect the Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which it is a signatory, and which so far continues to be violated on its territory“.
Abdelkader Filali, director of CIRPES, which focuses its missions on studies, research and consultations on the prevention and exploitation of children in conflict zones, told MoroccoLatestNews: ” This warning is the result of Algeria’s continued gross violations of systematic child recruitment of children from Tindouf “.
Abdelkader Filali added, “ the recruitment uniforms are produced by the Algerian army and are aimed in particular at the children of the Tindouf camps, in flagrant violation of international humanitarian and legal requirements “. He indicated that ” this warning is a message to the international human conscience to intervene urgently to put an end to these serious moral violations against children in the camps“.
The CEO of CIRPES, further underlined that ” Algeria is directly responsible for the continuation of these violations, which contradict international legal requirements, in obvious complicity with an unrecognized armed front “. Still in this context, he will add: The victims of this flagrant violation are multiplying in the Tindouf camps. This places Algeria in a position that violates international requirements and affects individual and human freedoms “.
Filali concluded by saying that: “ The end of this violation is conditioned by Algeria’s compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which completely prohibits the recruitment of children in any form whatsoever.“. This is in line with the call made by Morocco’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Omar Hilale, to the international community last June in Oslo.
He had indeed asked the international community to take “firm and urgent” measures against the military enlistment, by the armed group of the Polisario under the supervision of Algeria, of the children of the Tindouf camps and to prevent them from becoming ” the extremists and terrorists of tomorrow “. Omar Hilale was speaking on the occasion at the international conference in Oslo organized by the government of Norway.
” The international community has the duty to take firm and urgent measures, in order to protect children, in all regions of the world, against the spoliation of their childhood, the deprivation of their elementary rights and their military recruitment by armed groups, including that of the Polisario, so that the children of the Tindouf camps of today do not become the extremists or terrorists of tomorrow. “, underlined Omar Hilale during this event which brought together more than 400 people representing a hundred Member States, UN organizations and civil society under the theme: “ The protection of children in times of armed conflict “.