Adala UK denounces Morocco's violation of Sahrawi children's rights

APS - 09 January 2017

LONDON- The British organization for human rights defence in Western Sahara, Adala UK, denounced Saturday the violation of Sahrawi children's right by Morocco in its "campaign of collective punishment" to intimidate young Sahrawis.

The non-governmental organization (NGO) said that over the past three months of 2016, 24 minors were detained and tortured by Moroccan forces in a bid to stop any resistance to its occupation of Western Sahara.

The British NGO cited several testimonies of eyewitnesses or victims, who most of them were "violently attacked, immobilised and quickly taken away" from their families in the middle of the night or very early in the morning, "causing considerable panic and distress" to their families.

On 20th November 2016, the Moroccan police arrested three minors in Al-Ayun Jamal Salami, Hajoub El Mojahid and El Bashir Babait, who were "interrogated" and "maltreated" before being presented to the royal prosecutor on 25 January.

Another minor, Ibrahim Mayara, was "arbitrarily detained on 26 November," and is due to appear before a court by the end of January 2017.

On 8th December, a judge conditionally liberated 15-year-old Aziz Afnido, who had been detained for participating in a peaceful protest. Aziz was interrogated for 72 hours and told Adala UK he was subjected to "maltreatment and beatings" in police custody, said Adala UK.

Detainees are frequently tortured and are often not told the reason for their arrest or where they are being taken, said the British NGO, adding that their parents are not usually authorized to accompany them or be present during their interrogations.

Adala UK also denounced the fact that those detainees "are forced to sign confessions which are written in French or another language they do not speak."

Since the second Intifada in 2005, hundreds of Sahrawi children have been arrested, denying them the protection they should be guaranteed according to the international human rights treaties.