UN: Petitioners Speak Out against Recruitment, Indoctrination of Tindouf Camps’ Children

Before the 4th Committee of the UN General Assembly in New York, petitioners have protested against the recruitment and indoctrination of children in the camps of Tindouf, (southwestern Algeria). Thus, Johnita Simone Collins, of the NGO “Reign Embassy Association”, stressed that the use of children by the armed separatist group “the polisario” in a military conflict is a “serious violation” of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. “Child soldiers do not appear overnight. They are carefully trained by adults who inculcate hatred in them from an early age. For over 47 years, the “Polisario” has created an isolated environment in the camps that hosts these children,” she said, calling on the international community to act urgently against these practices that deprive these generations of dreaming of a better future. She said that the autonomy plan presented by Morocco in 2007 is the “best solution” to help these children find a normal and healthy life. Agreeing in the same vein, Amanda DiCianni, from the NGO “Rescue and Relief International” returned to the traumatic experience of these children subjected to recruitment in the camps of Tindouf, noting that such a practice, which continues for decades, makes these children unable to engage in activities that determine their success in a civil society. “I have come here to ask you to act in defense of these children,” she said before the 4th Committee of the UN General Assembly, stressing that the exposure of these children to fanatical indoctrination and military training is a “flagrant violation” of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. “I join my voice to that of international human rights groups to demand an end to the military recruitment of children in the camps of Tindouf”, on Algerian territory, insisted the petitioner, for whom the autonomy plan remains the “best solution” to end the recruitment of children. In the same vein, the petitioner Eric Cameron said that the armed melices of the “polisario” have been engaged for decades in the recruitment and indoctrination of innocent children in the camps of Tindouf, denouncing a “gross violation of human rights which the host country, Algeria, is the main culprit since it has ceded its powers in this part of its territory to an armed separatist group. The host country has not reported on measures taken to ensure the protection of children in the camps of Tindouf as a “State Party” to the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” she noted, adding that the host country has never submitted a full report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in accordance with Article 44 of the Convention. For the speaker, the recruitment of child soldiers represents a danger for the region of North Africa and the Sahel especially since these children become an easy prey to radicalization and recruitment of terrorist and criminal groups in the Sahel-Saharan region. Unlike children living in the southern provinces of Morocco and benefit from inclusive programs under the new development model, those languishing in the camps of Tindouf are deprived of any opportunity by their torturers. She called on the United Nations to take firm and urgent action against the host country, Algeria, which arms, supports and finances the separatist group “polisario”, stressing at the same time that the only way to resolve this disastrous humanitarian situation is to reach a solution based on the Moroccan autonomy plan which is the only option to ensure a safer future for everyone, including children in the Tindouf camps. Thus, the host country must participate in good faith in the roundtable process to put an end to this “humanitarian shame”, concluded the petitioner.