Saharawi Children and Students under occupation

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Over four decades have passed since the invasion of Western Sahara by the Moroccan Kingdom in October 1975. The status of this non-autonomous territory has not changed and it is clearly defined not only by the UN Resolutions as well as the International Court, the African Union and the Court of Justice of the European Union. Morocco has no sovereignty over the territory although it is the administrative power in facto, Spain did not fulfil the decolonization process and the International Community, especially the United Nations, were not able so far to put in place the Referendum for self-determination that was the base of the cease fire agreement in 1991 between the Moroccan Kingdom and the POLISARIO FRONT. The census was completed in 1992 by MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara), due to the obstacles put forward by Morocco the final list was confirmed in 1997 in Houston, where the UN Special Envoy Mr. James Baker III announced on September 16 that the parties involved in the conflict came to an agreement that laid the groundwork for an end to their dispute over Western Sahara by agreeing to a code of conduct governing a referendum that would decide the fate of the territory.

The abuse of the human rights of children is widespread in modern armed conflict and broadly reported in social media. The conflict in Western Sahara, though, has not the same exposure, nor do the media report, nor access, the occupied territory due to the imposed media blackout by the Moroccan Kingdom, who only allows the entry of International media who “obey” the agenda and program elaborated by the Moroccan governmental branches, as well as supervise the media’s contact with the population.

This report aims to show the situation in which children and young Saharawi live in the occupied territories and the impact that this occupation has on their daily life and future.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Humanitarian Law are violated daily in the occupied territories, where the absence of a UN protection mechanism, UNICEF or the International Red Cross leaves the Saharawi population and, in this case, especially the younger generations at the whim and mercy of the Moroccan authorities and Moroccan Settlers.

Schools are protected under the two bodies of international law: international humanitarian law and international human rights law. 

International human rights law, which is applicable at times of war and peace, provides for the right to education.




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