Workshop on advocacy with Sahrawi activists on the issue of land mines
Within the framework of the implementation of Housing and Land Rights Network’s main objective Capacity Building and Knowledge Creation, HLRN is cooperating with its members from the Western Sahara (the Sahrawi Mine Action Coordination Office--SMACO) in the Tindouf refugee camps, Algeria to organize knowledge workshops on the principles and development of advocacy. The first workshop took place on 26 September 2021 and included 25 participants from among the Sahrawi activists in the Tindouf camps concerned with the plight of land mines planted on the east side of the Moroccan occupation line.
The HLRN Coordinator Joseph Schechla provided a theoretical presentation on the concept and anatomy of the people-centered approach to advocacy, what are the means by which such advocacy can be implemented, and how Saharawi activists can mount successful advocacy campaigns and related processes, and the importance of data and information collection, in light of the knowledge capabilities and resources available to them to promote anti-mine action, reparation for the Sahrawi mine victims, and to determine the responsibility of relevant states to fulfill their international obligations in accordance with the rules of international law on the issue of mines in the territory of Western Sahara.
HLRN’s legal researcher Ahmed Mansour presented a legal review of the international legal system related to dealing with mines and unexploded ordnance, in addition to the available opportunities through which advocacy can be conducted within the framework of the United Nations system. The participants brainstormed about the extent to which successful advocacy around mines has been achieved and focused on the physical, social and economic suffering of mine victims.
The participants agreed on the necessity of holding further meetings to work out a collective advocacy strategy, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and identifying opportunities available to clear land mines and achieve remedy for their victims.
Photos: Scenes from the hybrid workshop. Source: SMACO.