War on Want: British Government to Fish in Illegal Waters, 2006
The British Government has been condemned by War on Want and campaign groups from across Europe today for supporting a Fisheries Agreement that will allow European ships to fish off the coast of illegally occupied Western Sahara, despite claims that this violates international law. Sweden stood alone in opposing the Agreement though Finland, the Netherlands and Ireland conditioned their support with a statement that the Agreement should benefit the “local population” of Western Sahara. Press release by War on Want, 22 May 2006.
Published: 12.06 - 2011 18:47Printer version    
British Government to Fish in Illegal Waters

Press release
22 May 2006

The British Government has been condemned by War on Want and campaign groups from across Europe today for supporting a Fisheries Agreement that will allow European ships to fish off the coast of illegally occupied Western Sahara, despite claims that this violates international law. Sweden stood alone in opposing the Agreement though Finland, the Netherlands and Ireland conditioned their support with a statement that the Agreement should benefit the “local population” of Western Sahara.

The Agreement, between the EU and Morocco, which has occupied Western Sahara for 30 years, will now go into effect after being ratified by the Moroccan Parliament. A European-wide coalition (www.fishelsewhere.org) has warned the European Commission that they could now face a legal challenge in the European courts. Last week the British Government’s own MEPs in Parliament, along with the Green group and rebel MEPs, voted against the Agreement.

Nick Dearden of British anti-poverty campaign group War on Want, said “The British Government has shown exactly what it thinks of international law. A few thousand tons of fish is worth more to our Government than the rights of 165,000 refugees and the self determination of a people who currently live in the last colony in Africa. While the British Government has always claimed there was not enough political support to amend this Agreement, the stance of Sweden, together with many UK MEPs, has shown that it is possible to take a principled position in international politics.”

Carlos Wilson from Western Sahara Resources Watch, said: “For 30 years 165,000 refugees have lived in camps in the Algerian desert because the international community has failed to act. Today the countries of the European Union have compounded 30 years of inaction, by happily stealing the resources of those refugees from under their noses.”

    


EN ES FR DE AR

Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
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