Adala UK: Morocco continues to violate the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Western Sahara  

Every day, and in countless ways, Sahrawi children’s rights are violated by the Moroccan forces in Western Sahara. None of the children who find themselves in the vicinity of the regular peaceful demonstrations that take place in the Occupied Territories to demand the Sahrawis’ right to self-determination, is ever to young to be safe from police violence.

On 29th March 2017, Alkanti Alalaoui, a 12-year-old boy who is deaf and has a laerning disability, from the Lahshaisha neighbourhood in El Aiun, was detained by Moroccan forces whilst he was sitting in the door of his house. Alkanti was savagely beaten before being forced into a car belonging to the Moroccan forces (reg. number 147142). One of the police officers hit his era, where he had already been beaten in the past, causing his disability. The beating also caused injuries to Alkanti’s face and other parts of his body.

The detention took place when a group of young people was throwing stones at a Moroccan blindado car was chased by the police. The car had previously intervened in a peaceful demonstration.

Alkanti was taken to an unknown location in the police car. His family home was attacked with stones by the police officers. A few minutes later, a large number of neighbours came together to show solidarity with the boy’s family. After two hours of protest, another police car appeared at the house to negotiate with the family, asking them to break up the protesters, as well as asking them not to make a formal complaint about the attack against the boy.

In answer to the mother’s plead to tell her where her child was and accusing them of human rights violations, the agents only answered that they were not the ones responsible for the child’s beating and arrest, and that those who had done that were not present. He said they had come to make the mother promise not to present a formal complaint, which the mother rejected – see video:

A few minute later, the police car who had taken the boy reappeared, releasing the boy in a critical state and clearly very disturbed.
On 30th March, the mother told Adala UK activists that her son was suffering psychologically, and had been waking up throughout the night screaming. The mother made a formal complaint about the police agents who had beaten and abducted Alkati, although these kinds of complaints are never investigated.

In November 2016, Adala UK presented a report on the abuse of children’s rights in Western Sahara to the UN (ref.). This highlights that the arrest, transfer and interrogation of children without the presence of their parents is a clear violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Morocco is a signatory. By ignoring these facts on the international stage, the UN and the whole international community continue to fail the Sahrawi people. Adala UK therefore calls on the UN and the international community to send observers to the Occupied Territories of Western Sahara to help guarantee the human rights of the Sahrawi people.

Adala UK further urges the Moroccan government to end its policy of impunity for violations committed by its own forces against Sahrawi citizens, and particularly against children.

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