Today, the EU Court of Justice has struck a blow to the EU’s practice of applying trade and fisheries agreements with Morocco to occupied Western Sahara.
The press release from the Court today specifically states that Polisario is able to represent the Saharawi people before European courts.
The right of the Saharawi people to consent has not been respected, the court stated. It states that the Union could not have replaced the “consent” of the Saharawi people with the argument of “benefits”.
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….)
A EUROPEAN COMMISSION move to renegotiate its Association Agreement with Morocco on trade, political co-operation and development issues without involving the people of Western Sahara and their UN-recognised political representatives, the Polisario Front, has been raised in the Dáil (Irish Parliament) by Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe with the Irish Foreign Affairs Minister.
Morocco has occupied much of resource-rich Western Sahara since 1975. Most of the population has been expelled by force, many to camps in the Algerian desert where 165,000 refugees still live. United Nations resolutions have called for the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people. The United Nations considers the Polisario Front to be the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people.
The Frente POLISARIO has “strongly” condemned the proposal of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union is expected to decide on, for a mandate to negotiate a revision of the 2000 EU-Morocco Association Agreement, which would include Moroccan products originating illegally in Western Sahara under the trade preferences of that Agreement.
The Frente POLISARIO affirmed in a statement on Sunday “As the UN-recognised representative of the people of Western Sahara, the Frente POLISARIO strongly condemns this new proposal of the European Commission, which, if endorsed by the Council of the European Union, would violate both the ruling of the EU Court and fundamental tenets of international law.” Continue reading →
Above: The tank vessel Key Bay seen in the harbor of El Aaiun on 6 January 2017 – the first confirmed transport of goods from Western Sahara into the EU after the landmark judgment of the CJEU.
On 21 December 2016, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) judged that EU-Morocco trade deals cannot include the territory of Western Sahara.
Yet, the EU Commission has been pushing hard the EU member states to ignore that judgement. And in spite of vocal opposition from the UN-recognised representative of the people of Western Sahara – the Polisario Front – this morning, EU member states gave their green light to the Commission to start talks with Morocco for Western Sahara trade. Continue reading →
So go the first lines of a poem by Fatma Brahim, who composed the work in 1976 as she and her daughters left the destroyed refugee camp of Um Dreiga, Western Sahara, after the Moroccan air force napalmed it. The poem, titled “Sahara is not for sale,” has become a classic revolutionary song for Saharawis, who are still pursuing their struggle for independence. It succinctly draws attention to a central aspect of the Western Sahara conflict, and an increasingly key demand made by Saharawi pro-independence activists: natural resources.
A Sahrawi refugee prepares tea on July 8, 2016 at the refugee camp of Dakhla, 170km southeast of the Algerian city of Tindouf, in the disputed territory of Western Sahara. (Photo: FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Dominic Dudley 21 December 2016
Morocco’s relations with the European Union (EU) have suffered a potentially significant setback, after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that Western Sahara cannot be treated as a part of Morocco, meaning that no EU-Morocco trade deals can apply to the territory.
“This is a wonderful victory for the Saharawi people and for those who advocate for respect of international law in Western Sahara. All those states in the EU which over so many years have advocated for the respect of international law in the territory are now proven right. The EU now has to respect the law in its relations with Morocco, and not put obstacles to the UN peace process in Western Sahara as is the wish of Morocco’s main ally, France”, stated Erik Hagen of Western Sahara Resource Watch.