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9 December 2020

"Young Sahrauis need prospects" 

None Administrative detention For children
None Administrative detention For children

Press release - The signs point to war in the decades-long conflict between Morocco and the Sahrawi liberation movement Frente Polisario. The human rights activist Laila Fahkouri has been staying in the Sahrawi refugee camps in the Algerian desert since March. The situation is particularly gruelling for young people, she tells terre des hommes schweiz. Condemned to do nothing, they are prone to take up arms themselves.

"The young are tired of their people being 'forgotten'", says Sahrawi human rights activist Laila Fakhouri (26) on the occasion of International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2020. The "forgotten" conflict over Western Sahara between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Sahrawi liberation movement Frente Polisario escalated a few weeks ago. "After 29 years of stagnation, the young Sahrauis in particular are losing patience," she says.

Ceasefire of 1991 revoked

On 13. November are Moroccan militaryaffiliated into the UNO-Buffer zone invaded south of the occupied Western SaharaSaharan Civilpersons had there a Street blockedMorocco as a trade route to Mauritania serves. The UNO had years prior already warned that such a Street is problematic for the ceasefire agreement between Morocco and dhe Frente PolisarioDie military intervention in the area is a break by which Agreement. The Polisario has thereupon the ceasefire for ended and Morocco the War declared.

The Western Sahara has been divided into two unequal parts for 45 years. Morocco holds two thirds of ther Western Sahara along the Atlantic coast rich in fish in violation of international law occupieda region rich in raw materials with several larger Cities. The Polisario controls the Desert region of Western Sahara on the border with Algeria. 

Two thirds in the refugee camps under 25

Laila Fakhouriwho a year ago on the initiative of terre of hommes switzerland the Weimar received the Human Rights Award and explicitly calling for peaceful protest against the Moroccan occupying power, has been in the Sahrawi Refugee camps in the Algerian desert. Around 176,000 people are waiting there two thirds of which are young Sahrauis under the age of 25.

«Right now it's all about the 'war'.»reports theyLaila Fakhouri has Understand that, that «people have had enough». For the Children, teenagers and young adults be the situation is particularly grave. "The young generation in the refugee camps ...stays in the middle of nowhere. Doing nothing and not being able to work means itself useless to feel. Boy Sahrauis need prospects Young people who are in employment are much less likely to take up arms, says the Human rights activist. Finally neede it «the political will the international communityat these unsustainable To change the situation», so Laila Fakhouri. 

Third generation in exile

"Many young Sahrawis suffer from the gruelling situation," confirms Sylvia Valentin, Western Sahara expert at terre des hommes switzerland. "For 29 years they have been waiting for the referendum that was promised to them during the ceasefire in 1991," she says. Meanwhile, the third generation of young Sahrawis is living in the refugee camps with no prospect of an improvement in their situation, she says: "The situation is tense and frustration at the lack of support from the international community and the inaction of the UN Security Council is great," says Sylvia Valentin of terre des hommes switzerland.

terre des hommes schweiz supports the project and information work of a centre for young people and their families in the Sahrawi refugee camp Smara. The development organisation works for the political and economic self-determination of the Sahrauis and is the Swiss contact point of the international network WSRW (Western Sahara Resource Watch).

More information: https://terredeshommesschweiz.ch/laila-fakhouri

 Information: Sylvia Valentin via Media Relations, anna.wegelin@terredeshommes.ch

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