Call in Geneva to Put Pressure on Algeria to Stop Recruitment of Child Soldiers by Polisario

International relations expert Matteo Dominici, on Tuesday, called on the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children and Armed Conflicts (SRSG) and on the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) to shoulder their responsibility by putting pressure on Algeria to stop the recruitment of child soldiers by the polisario in the Tindouf camps, located on Algerian territory.
Speaking on behalf of Swiss NGO “Promotion of Economic and Social Development,” at the interactive dialogue with the SRSG during the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council, Dominici deplored the fate of children forcibly enrolled into polisario militias, pointing out Algeria’s direct responsibility for the violations committed against these children and the entire population of the Tindouf camps.

In that regard, he recalled that “Canadian think tank Polisens and other reputable organizations working for the defense and respect of children’s rights have recently highlighted many violations of children’s rights which occurred in the said camps.”

Since the onset of the regional dispute over the Sahara, nearly 8,000 children have reportedly been abducted and deported for military training abroad, particularly in Algeria, Cuba, Libya, Syria and Venezuela, in total disregard of children’s rights under the 1989 International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Dominici observed.

The expert also decried videos showing children being recruited and trained for war by the polisario in the Tindouf camps in Algeria after the separatists broke the UN cease-fire on November 13, 2020.

“These children are deprived of their most basic rights, such as the right to a school education, the right to have a shelter, the right to have decent living conditions, the right to play and have leisure, the right to freedom of information, expression and participation, the right to have a family, to be surrounded and loved as well as the right to be protected from all types of violence including participation in war,” he said.

The expert, who strongly condemned the violations of the children’s most basic rights in the polisario-run camps on Algerian territory, called on the SRSG and the HRC “to ask the Algerian authorities to put an end once and for all to these numerous violations.”

Children in the Tindouf camps in Algeria should not be used as “cannon fodder,” he concluded.