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Morocco Fights Against The Recruitment Of Child Soldiers


Morocco has inaugurated the International Centre for Research on the Prevention of Child Soldiers with the aim of contributing to the fight against the recruitment of child soldiers, through the dissemination of research to be carried out by the Center.

Speaking at the inaugural conference of the Centre, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad, Nasser Bourita stated that the creation of the Center, was to contribute to the debate by formulating concrete proposals for the security-development and coordination of efforts of the international community.

Mr. Bourita added that the objective of the Centre is to provide accurate, qualitative and quantitative data to formulate an informed action through academic research.

The Minister further noted that the Polisario-forced recruitment of children in the camps of Tindouf fuels instability in North Africa and the Sahel.

He said the indoctrination and enlistment of children by the “Polisario” armed militia is an inhuman crime, and a denial of the basic rights of the children recruited, as well as a flagrant violation of the resolutions adopted by the Security Council on this matter, he said.

Mr. Bourita further called for an end to impunity for those responsible for the recruitment and criminal use of children and other grave violations, by supporting systematic UN monitoring and reporting of child rights violations in conflicts.

He stated that the proportion of children living in conflict zones who are at risk of recruitment and use by armed groups has tripled from less than 5% in 1990 (99 million children) to more than 14% in 2020 (337 million children).

“The problem of child soldiers is neither marginal nor circumstantial and contrary to popular belief, this phenomenon is not exclusive to Africa,” he added, noting that children take part in 75% of conflicts in the world, more than 460 million children live in a conflict zone in 2022 and more than 15% of child soldiers are girls.

“In the last 25 years, 170,000 children have been released from armed groups. However, only a limited number of former child soldiers have been identified in a limited number of countries surveyed,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Center, Abdelkader Filali on his part stressed that the Center will focus its missions on studies, research and consultations on the prevention and exploitation of children in conflict zones.

Mr. Filali, also a professor at the University of Ottawa, noted that this structure will be equipped with mechanisms for international advocacy within United Nations organizations in the various fora, in collaboration with civil society around the world and civil authorities working in this area.

According to him, the Research Center has executives, academicians and university graduates who will be equipped with mechanisms for monitoring the various violations in conflict zones around the world.

The International Center for Research on the Prevention of Child Soldiers will join efforts with United Nations agencies, international and regional organizations, international networks and civil society to develop a common research program in order to address the vulnerability of children who are exploited and used in armed conflicts.

Through academic research, partnerships and collaborations, the Center will deploy strategies to deal with all forms of enlistment of children and conduct an assessment and census of unregistered child soldiers, while offering innovative solutions to combat their exploitation in armed conflicts.

The Center will also focus on research on the African continent, with the aim of disseminating data on a large scale.

Other dignitaries present at the ceremony were the Wali of the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab region, Governor of the Province of Oued Eddahab, Lamine Benomar, the Ambassador, Director General of the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation (AMCI), Mohamed Methqal, and elected officials, as well as Consuls General of several African countries in Dakhla.

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