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The Canadian government is called upon to work to put an end to the situation of 8,000 Sahrawi children exploited as soldiers in the Tindouf camps in Algeria, in accordance with its commitment to the Vancouver Principles, underlines Polisens think tank in Ottawa.

In a memorandum to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, “academics, writers and human rights advocates at the Polisens Research Institute urge Ottawa to implement the principles of child soldiers from Vancouver 2017 and more specifically to lobby on Polisario militia and Algeria to end the use of children as soldiers ”.

“Canada and the international community may know that until now, Sahrawi child soldiers are publicly exploited in the Tindouf camps on Algerian soil”, adds the think tank, while stressing the urgency of putting an end to this situation.

This is the most forgotten case of the use of child soldiers in the world, according to participants at a recent conference organized by Polisens, the document said.

“We are dismayed to learn that Algeria has not authorized any international organization capable of providing rehabilitation programs to these children who now join extremist and jihadist groups in the Sahel responsible for the execution and kidnapping of Canadians and UN employees, ”it added.

Next May, the UN Secretary-General is expected to release his annual report to the UN Security Council on children and armed conflict, including a list of governments and groups that violate international standards banning recruitment and use of child soldiers.

“Given Canada's commitment to the Vancouver principles, the list should include the use of Sahrawi child soldiers on Algerian soil and detailed recommendations for Polisario”, noted the think-tank, considering that this initiative would be a tangible step forward in ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers.

Polisens, which foresees that “the Polisario militia and Algeria will be appointed for the continued use of child soldiers, which will shed light on Algeria's inability to meet international standards”, proposes that Canada, in accordance with its commitments, is initiating contacts with Algerian officials, in particular to allow field visits to the Tindouf camp for humanitarian organizations such as the Canadian Research Centers for Studies on Genocide and Human Rights and the Dallaire Institute for Children Peace and Security.

The think tank said that given the importance of security in the African continent for Canada, it is high time for Ottawa to position itself on the world stage by promoting the autonomy plan proposed by Morocco as the only means to resolve the artificial conflict around the Moroccan Sahara.

"We believe that the Moroccan autonomy plan is the solution to put an end to the actions of destabilization in the particularly strategic and dangerous Sahelo-Saharan region," he continued.

Canada is invited today to support the autonomy plan proposed by Morocco, assured Polisens, stressing that the Autonomy Initiative under Moroccan sovereignty was widely supported during the Ministerial Conference in support of this initiative which was held on January 15.

-News on Western Sahara / Corcas-



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