I Saharawi Day “Paco Sánchez Falcón” focused on the situation of the children and students of Western Sahara

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PUSL.- The First Saharawi Conference “Paco Sánchez Falcón”, a pro-Saharawi activist who died suddenly last March, was held in Lebrija.

This day was dedicated to the Sahrawi children and began with the intervention of the Mayor of Lebrija, Pepe Barroso, who welcomed the many people who gathered there, remembering the figure of Paco and his life committed to solidarity. The president expressed the commitment of the City Council to support the Saharawi cause and their desire that they could return soon to their free and independent country.

After the intervention of the President, Mohamed Zrug, delegate of the Polisario Front in Andalusia, started the Conference on the Saharawi children in exile in the refugee camps in Tindouf, stressing the importance given by the government of SADR (Saharawi Arabe Deocratic Republic) to health and education, despite the limited means they have. The work and effort of SADR has allowed three generations to move from the majority of the illiterate population to 30% of young people with higher education and 100% of literacy in refugee camps. He thanked the collaboration of associations and public institutions, including the City of Lebrija, and stressed the importance that Paco Sánchez Falcón had in the sporting plan, but above all his human dimension and solidarity with the Saharawi people. Zrug expressed his wish that, one day, sooner or later, Saharawi children could live in their country, now illegally occupied by Morocco.

In the second part of the conference, human rights activist and member of the Western Sahara Foundation, Isabel Lourenço deeply impressed the general public, presenting the results of her report on the situation of children and young people in the Western Sahara in the territories occupied by Morocco ((https : //www.africanos.eu/images/publicacoes/working_papers/WP_2019_1.pdf)). Videos, interviews, recordings, photos, surveys … showed once again that the most elementary aggression, harassment and violations of human rights result in enormous suffering in these children and increase their torment in the true apartheid situation of this people.

This report, which is available online, was the result of five years of intensive work in the occupied territories of Western Sahara, the diaspora and the cities of Morocco where there are Saharawi students. 300 inquiries and hundreds of interviews show that Saharawi children and young people are exposed to a degree of violence that can be compared to a war zone and that the political, social and economic apartheid imposed by Morocco in the occupied territories and violence against children, even within school classrooms, is a serious violation of human rights and of all conventions ratified by Morocco.

Isabel Lourenço stressed the absolute lack of protection experienced by the Saharawis, people living under Moroccan occupation, where there is no UN mechanism present to protect and intervene against a slow genocide planned and executed with various techniques by the occupation authorities.

After this interesting presentations with great participation, Teresa Ganfornina, Councilor of the City Council for Children and Education and Esperanza Jaen, president of the Solidarity Platform, welcomed the participation of the participants and proceeded to deliver the first prize of Solidarity “Paco Sánchez Falcón” that this year was granted to his family who received it with great emotion from the hands of the representatives of the Platform and the Saharawi Community of Lebrija.