The UK government has stated that the European Commission has not forwarded any information relating to consultation with the Saharawi people regarding the EU fisheries in the waters of Western Sahara. This was noted by Richard Benyon, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), on 4 May 2011.
"The European Commission has not presented DEFRA with any information regarding consultation with the Saharawi people on the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement. The Commission has forwarded information which the Moroccan authorities submitted to it on how the EU funds allocated under the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Morocco have been used. DEFRA is still assessing this information to see how the population of the Western Sahara have benefited".
The statement came as an answer to the following question from parliamentarian Mark Williams (Liberal Democrat), "To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the evidence presented by the European Commission on whether the Saharawi people were consulted on their wishes in relation to the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement."
The UN legal office has concluded that natural resource activity in Western Sahara is in violation of international law if the Saharawi have not been consulted. Download the UN legal opinion here. See its conclusion on the right.
The European Parliament's Legal Services, and the author of the UN Legal Opinion, have acknowledged EU fisheries is illegal, since the wishes of the Saharawi have not been taken into account.
More than 100 UN resolutions, and the International court of justice, shave noted the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and, within that, to sovereignty over their natural resources. In 2010, the Court declared again the right of colonized (non-self-governing) peoples’ right to self-determination, in its advisory opinion about Kosovo’s independence.
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.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the three different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.