10 March 2018
Last week, the EU Court of Justice ruled that the EU-Morocco fisheries deal is not applicable to Western Sahara or its adjacent waters. The judgement is the latest in a string of legal victories to affirm that Morocco has no sovereignty over Western Sahara or its natural resources. This reality was underscored last month when the High Court of South Africa confirmed that the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic was the rightful owner of 55 tons of phosphate rock aboard the NM Cherry Blossom. The vessel’s cargo – detained in South Africa with phosphates illegally exploited in Western Sahara and bound for New Zealand – will now be returned to the Saharawi people.
Read the judgment here:
Since neither the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco nor the Protocol between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco are applicable to the waters adjacent to the territory of Western Sahara, consideration of the first question referred for a preliminary ruling has revealed nothing capable of affecting the validity of Council Regulation (EC) No 764/2006 of 22 May 2006 on the conclusion of that agreement, Council Decision 2013/785/EU of 16 December 2013 on the conclusion of that protocol, and Council Regulation (EU) No 1270/2013 of 15 November 2013 on the allocation of fishing opportunities under that protocol, in the light of Article 3(5) TEU.
Read the judgment here
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Leigh Day, 5 February 2018
“European Union Court of Justice’s Advocate General Melchior Wathelet has handed down his opinion this week on the legal claims by Western Sahara Campaign UK’s (WSCUK) before the European Court of Justice finding that the European Union had failed to respect the right of the (continued….)
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Court of Justice of the European Union
Press Release No 01/18
Luxembourg, 10 January 2018
According to Advocate General Wathelet, the Fisheries Agreement concluded between the EU and Morocco is invalid because it applies to the Western Sahara and its adjacent waters.
8 January 2018
The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
As you saw over the weekend, the Secretary-General issued a statement on Western Sahara, in which he said he was deeply concerned about recent increased tensions in the vicinity of Guerguerat, in the Buffer Strip between the Moroccan berm and the Mauritanian border. He underlined that the withdrawal of Frente Polisario elements from Guerguerat in April 2017, together with the earlier withdrawal of Moroccan elements from the area, was critical to creating an environment conducive to the resumption of dialogue under the auspices of his Personal Envoy, Horst Kohler. The Secretary-General called on the parties to exercise maximum restraint and to avoid escalating tensions. Regular civilian and commercial traffic should not be obstructed and no action should be taken which may constitute a change to the status quo of the Buffer Strip.
Sahara Press Service
Oct 18, 2017
The messes of the Wilaya of Auserd have received on Wednesday the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Western Sahara, Horst Koehler, who arrived in the camps on the second leg of his first visit to the region, in the framework of his first tour to revival negotiations between the two parties to reach a solution that guarantees the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination.
Upon his arrival in Auserd, he was greeted by units of the Sahrawi People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), where he was received at the entrance of the Wilaya by the members of the Secretariat, the Government, the National Council, the Bureau of the Advisory Council, the Presidents of the Constitutional Council and the Supreme Judicial Council.
For her part, Governor of the Wilaya, Mrs. Mariam Salek Hamada, after welcoming the Personal Envoy and his accompanying delegation, renewed the confidence of the Sahrawi party in the new envoy to move the peace process in Western Sahara.
Mariam went on saying that the Saharawi people are looking forward to finding a quick solution to the long-running Western Sahara conflict, applauding Mr. Kohler’s experience in the international politics.
The UN envoy was received by Emhamed Khaddad, the Sahrawi Coordinator with MINURSO, Mr. Bujari Ahmed, representative of the Frente POLISARIO to the United Nations.SPS
Saharawi human rights activist, Sultana Kahya, was taking part in a peaceful demonstration recently in support of Saharawi political prisoners but when she waved a Saharawi flag, it was forcibly confiscated and she was beaten by police and security officers (some in plain clothes).
Sahara Press Service
22 September 2017
El-Aaiun (Occupied Terrritories), Sep 22, 2017 (SPS) – Moroccan forces carried out a violent attack on Sahrawi demonstrators in the occupied city of El-Aaiun on Thursday, to express solidarity with Saharawi political prisoners in Moroccan prisons and condemnation of the disperse of Gdeim Izik’s prisoners.
The Moroccan forces imposed a siege on the neighborhoods that lead to Smara Street and houses of families of the prisoners, before carrying out their assault on the demonstrators.
The intervention was resulted in multiple injuries among the demonstrators, some of them in critical conditions, which required their transfer to hospital such as: Aziz Biza, Bashri Bentaleb, Hasana Duehi, Mina Abaali, Zaina Ashtuqui , Bushra Azafati, Embarka Bani, Maluma Abdalahi and Raguia El Hauasi.
According to sources from the Occupied Zones, Moroccan police forces still maintain a strong siege on the main streets of the occupied city of El-Aaiun, in anticipation of more demonstrations in solidarity with the Saharawi political prisoners.
Sahara Press Service
17 September 2017
Al-Arjat Prison (Morocco) 16 September 2017 – The Moroccan forces on Saturday carried out the abusive transfer of Sahrawi political prisoners of Gdeim Izik from Al-Arjat prison to other Moroccan prisons, according to a Saharawi media source.
The Moroccan forces on Saturday carried out the abusive transfer of Sahrawi political prisoners of Gdeim Izik from Al-Arjat prison to other Moroccan prisons, according to a Saharawi media source.
The families of the Saharawi political prisoners of Gdeim Izik group confirmed that Al-Arjat prison guards attacked the prisoners’ cells and forcibly transferred them to other prisons.
The political prisoners of Gdeim Izik group are probably transferred to the Moroccan prisons of Knetra and Ait Melloul, where the Moroccan authorities have just completed some works in these prisons, added the source.
This abusive transfer is part of retaliation against the group, condemned to heavy sentences of imprisonment ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment, for their successive demands to be transferred to the prison occupied of El Aaiún. (SPS)
24 September 2017
EU Commission contravening ECJ ruling and breaching principles of international law, warn Green MEPs Florent Marcellesi, Bodil Valero, Barbara Lochbihler, Pascal Durand, Bart Staes and Margrete Auken, Members Of The European Parliament From The Greens/EFA Group.
The December 2016 ruling by the European Court of Justice reaffirmed that Morocco had no sovereignty over Western Sahara and put an end to 16 years of (illegal) application of the EU-Morocco trade agreements in relation to that territory. The Commission and the Member States have been at pains to find a solution that would conform with the ruling, yet placate their Moroccan partner. In other terms, the EU has embarked on an illusory attempt to square the circle of upholding European law while continuing to support the decades-long violation of international law that constitutes Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara.