EU Parliament backs self-determination - split on EU Court ruling
parliament_610.jpg

As the vote on the European Parliament's report on the UN General Assembly revealed, MEPs are split on the inclusion of a reference to the EU Court of Justice in relation to Western Sahara.
Published: 06.07 - 2018 11:22Printer version    
Yesterday, 5 July 2018, the Members of the European Parliament voted in the plenary session on the institution's annual report setting out its priorities for the forthcoming UN General Assembly. The report covers a wide range of topics, from human rights and development to UN reform.

The report, drafted by S&D Rapporteur Eugen Freund, had already been adopted in the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) and at that time included an amendment on Western Sahara put forth by the Greens. The paragraph on Western Sahara suggested three elements:
1. to act upon the rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union on Western Sahara;
2. to support UN efforts to secure a fair and lasting settlement of the Western Sahara conflict, on the basis of the right to self-determination of the Sahrawi people and in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions;
3. to push for the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to be provided with a human rights mandate, in line with all other UN peacekeeping missions.

The paragraph having survived the vote in AFET had triggered a heavy counter-lobby from the Moroccan diplomacy, which cannot accept any such language on Western Sahara.

As a result, two out of the three above-cited sentences were voted out in the Parliament's plenary session.

Astonishingly, the sentence regarding respect for the rulings of the EU Court of Justice on Western Sahara was voted down by a narrow majority of three votes. The sentence calling for MINURSO to be equiped with a human rights mandate, in line with all other UN peacekeeping missions, was rejected by 40 votes (267 in favour, 304 against, 36 abstentions).

In contrast, the sentence calling for supporting the UN efforts to secure a fair and lasting settlement of the Western Sahara conflict on the basis of the Saharawi people's right to self-determination, got a tiny majority of two votes.

Note that the Advocate-General of the EU Court of Justice stated in his Advisory Opinion on EU fisheries in Western Sahara of 10 January 2018 that "the right to self-determination forms part of ‘human rights’".

A roll-call vote on the sentence calling for MINURSO to be extended a human rights mandate reveals how MEPs voted on that particular phrase. Several things stick out.

The second largest political group in the Parliament, the Social Democrats (S&D) massively supported a human rights monitoring mandate for MINURSO (128 in favour, and only 20 against, including Mr Gilles PArgneaux, president of the unofficial Group of Friendship with Morocco).

The GUE/NGL and Greens/EFA groups all voted in favour, as did Italy's Movimento 5 Stelle.

On the opposite side of the spectrum are the Christian Democrats (EPP), who mostly voted against a human rights mandate - with the notable exception of Slovakia's former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eduard Kukan and Sweden's Christopher Fjellner. The far right and other extremist MEPs also voted against the UN reference.

The liberal group, (ALDE) appeared deeply divided, with the EP International Trade Committee's standing rapporteur on trade with Morocco, MS Patricia Lalonde, abstaining. The President of the ALDE group, and former Prime Minister of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt, favouring a human rights mandate.

Most surprisingly was the abstention of the corrent chair of the EP Human Rights sub-committee Mr Antonio Panzeri, who voted against a human rights mandate to the UN mission, as did his predecessor, Ms Elena Valenciano.

"Clearly, in their view, human rights are universal, except in Western Sahara. We'd be interested to hear their explanation for this vote when questioned by human rights NGOs as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and EuroMed Rights who have repeatedly called for MINURSO to have a human rights mandate", says Sara Eyckmans of Western Sahara Resource Watch.


Since you're here....
WSRW’s work is being read and used more than ever. But our financial situation is tough. Our work takes time, dedication and diligence. But we do it because we believe it matters – and we hope you do to. If everyone who reads our website or likes us on Facebook, would contribute to our work – 3€, 5€, 27€ … what you can spare – the future of WSRW would be much more secure. You can donate to WSRW in less than a minute here.





    

Top
News:

10.12 - 2019 / 09.12 - 2019Flotilla targets phosphate plunder ship
10.12 - 2019 / 10.12 - 2019WSRW calls on UN Members to question Spain on Western Sahara at UPR
04.12 - 2019 / 04.12 - 2019Conflict beach taking shape in Canary Islands
02.12 - 2019 / 02.12 - 2019Dutch inspectors confirm controversial fish oil
02.12 - 2019 / 02.12 - 2019Kiwi port workers threaten not to discharge Western Sahara cargo
01.12 - 2019 / 30.11 - 2019Conflict sand to cover Canary beach
28.11 - 2019 / 25.11 - 2019Will COP 25 clarify if it accepts illegal projects?
28.11 - 2019 / 27.11 - 2019Enel signs contract to build Boujdour wind farm
21.11 - 2019 / 21.11 - 2019New Zealand port workers warn Kiwi importer of Saharawi phosphate
20.11 - 2019 / 19.11 - 2019Hans Corell criticizes EU fisheries in Western Sahara
10.11 - 2019 / 08.11 - 2019Turkey’s conflict aquaculture exposed
08.11 - 2019 / 07.11 - 2019CGG blames Shell for Saharawi survey
16.10 - 2019 / 16.10 - 2019GeoEx pushes seismic data from occupied land
15.10 - 2019 / 15.10 - 2019Fish oil from occupied Western Sahara imported into the Netherlands?
04.10 - 2019 / 11.09 - 2019Anchoring occupation: Morocco to construct $1bn port in Western Sahara
09.09 - 2019 / 09.09 - 2019German trade fair should stop promoting Azura, groups say
09.09 - 2019 / 05.09 - 2019Spanish farmers warn of fraudulent trade from occupied land
08.09 - 2019 / 06.09 - 2019Protests continue against Ravensdown's blood phosphate imports
03.09 - 2019 / 03.09 - 2019Kiwis take on New Zealand farmers' blood phosphate imports
17.06 - 2019 / 27.08 - 2010Support Western Sahara Resource Watch




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.
EU Court cases on Western Sahara for dummies

tn_law_hammer.jpg

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 five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!

tn_court_photo_gdeim_izik_610.jpg

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.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch

tn_sjovik_demo_610.jpg

Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.
Report: Moroccan green energy used for plunder

tn_poweringplunder_eng_610.jpg

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.

WSRW.org News Archive 2019
WSRW.org News Archive 2018
WSRW.org News Archive 2017
WSRW.org News Archive 2016
WSRW.org News Archive 2015
WSRW.org News Archive 2014
WSRW.org News Archive 2013
WSRW.org News Archive 2012
WSRW.org News Archive 2011
WSRW.org News Archive 2010
WSRW.org News Archive 2009
WSRW.org News Archive 2008
WSRW.org News Archive 2007
WSRW.org News Archive 2004-2006


Register for our English newsletter:









These web pages have been built with the financial support of the trade union Industry Energy