98 Saharawi groups call on European Parliament to reject fish deal
Since the EU won't ask them, Saharawi groups have once again been left with no other choice than to contact EU institutions themselves to indicate they do not want the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement applied to their waters.
Close to 100 Saharawi civil society organisations have signed an appeal to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), asking them to vote against the proposed EU-Morocco Sustainable Fisheries Agreement that includes the waters of occupied Western Sahara and is up for a vote in plenary on 13 February.
"This deal has nothing to do with a “sustainable fisheries partnership agreement”. It is not sustainable: to this date, the Commission still does not have any independent data concerning the fisheries reserves in our waters and has relied exclusively on information provided by the Moroccan authorities or the pro-Moroccan industry. There is no partnership: the Commission did not carry out any genuine consultation of our people and it has negotiated with Morocco an agreement, which ignores our interests and wishes. Finally, it is not about fisheries but only about geopolitics: pleasing an illegal occupying force in exchange of its support for the EU agenda on migration or other interests", the letter reads.
The letter was sent to all MEPs today, after Saharawis staged a protest in Brussels in front of the European Parliament (see photos, and click for higher resolution). Read the full version of the letter below, or download it here.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------- OPEN LETTER TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT CONCERNING YOUR VOTE ON THE EU-MOROCCO FISHERIES AGREEMENT
6th February 2019
On behalf of Saharawi civil society and the undersigned civil society organizations from the occupied territories of Western Sahara, the liberated territories, the refugee camps in Tindouf and the Saharawi diaspora, we wish to share our opinion and position on the proposed EU-Morocco sustainable fisheries partnership agreement and the inclusion of Western Sahara in its territorial scope.
The EU’s Court of Justice (CJEU) has twice (on 21 December 2016 and 27 February 2018) ruled that Western Sahara is separate and distinct from Morocco, that Morocco has no sovereignty over the territory of Western Sahara and that the EU-Morocco agreements are not applicable to Western Sahara. The Court has also stipulated the consent of the people of Western Sahara as the principle pre-condition for the application of such agreements in Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory.
There have been no efforts from the EU Commission to obtain the consent of the people of Western Sahara nor have we seen responsible engagement from the EU in negotiating with the POLISARIO Front. Quite the contrary, we have witnessed the attempt by the Commission to mislead and divide the people of Western Sahara in the course of fake consultations, which failed to meet the requirement by the Court of ensuring the consent as the main condition for the legality of any economic activity in the occupied Western Sahara. Moreover, our people remains largely excluded from the fisheries sector which is overwhelmingly run and staffed by Moroccan settlers and therefore, the fisheries agreement will only reinforce our exclusion, while expanding the external, illegal control over the exploitation of our fisheries resources.
We are disappointed by the Council’s approval of an agreement that aims to illegally plunder the natural resources of our occupied homeland - Western Sahara – and contributes directly to the prolongation of the occupation, the suffering of the people of Western Sahara and strengthens the illegal, military presence of Morocco in our territory. Instead, the EU should support the UN peace process and UN Special Envoy Mr. Köhler’s efforts to resume negotiations between the POLISARIO Front and the Kingdom of Morocco and contribute constructively to formally decolonize Western Sahara.
This deal has nothing to do with a “sustainable fisheries partnership agreement”. It is not sustainable: to this date, the Commission still does not have any independent data concerning the fisheries reserves in our waters and has relied exclusively on information provided by the Moroccan authorities or the pro-Moroccan industry. There is no partnership: the Commission did not carry out any genuine consultation of our people and it has negotiated with Morocco an agreement, which ignores our interests and wishes. Finally, it is not about fisheries but only about geopolitics: pleasing an illegal occupying force in exchange of its support for the EU agenda on migration or other interests.
We urge you, Honorable Members of the European Parliament to vote AGAINST the proposed EU-Morocco fisheries agreement to save the EU’s image as an international institution that has been always presented as a “global leader” in defending democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We call upon you all to take your constitutional responsibilities and act as legislative power, stand up to defend your own court and not to be seduced by propaganda and baseless claims of « benefits » by the EU Commission.
The Saharawi civil society trusts that the Parliamentarians will understand for themselves the reality of dispossession, repression and demographic engineering that is occurring in occupied Western Sahara and that the proposed agreement will only prolong. Therefore, a referral to the CJEU can be an alternative option for those who still have doubts about the clarity of the CJEU rulings related to the same agreements.
We will be following your vote next week and we wish to see the majority of the members of this house defending the legality and our people’s right not to lose faith in the European Parliament and the entire EU politics.
Yours faithfully, The undersigned Signed by the Saharawi civil society NGOs: Occupied territory of Western Sahara: 1. The collective of Saharawi Human Rights Defenders (CODESA) 2. Association for Monitoring of Resources and for Protection of the Environment in Western Sahara (AMRPENWS) 3. Saharawi Committee for the Defense of the Self-Determination of the People of Western Sahara (CODAPSO) 4. The Saharawi Association for Victims of Grave Violations Committed by the Moroccan State (ASVDH) 5. The Saharawi Association for the Protection and Dissemination of the Saharawi Culture and Heritage 6. Saharawi Media Team 7. National Television Team 8. Media team Maizirat 9. The Saharawi Center for Media and Communication 10. The Association for the Protection of Saharawi Prisoners in Moroccan Prisons 11. Western Sahara Times 12. Committee for Support the Peace Plan and Protection of Natural Resources in Western Sahara 13. Committee of the Mothers of the 15 Abductees 14. Association for Justice and Human Rights 15. The Saharawi Center for Save Memory 16. The Saharawi Observatory for the Child and Women 17. Forum for the Future of Women 18. Renunciation Moroccan Nationality Group
19. The field coordination of the unemployed Saharawi graduates 20. Bentili Media Center 21. Gdim Izic Coordinating for Peaceful Movement 22. Committee of Victims of the Agdaz and Magouna 23. Independent Media Commission 24. The Saharawi Association for Persons with Disabilities in Western Sahara 25. Committee of the Families of the Saharawiss Missing 26. The Saharawis Association for the Defense of Human Rights and the Protection of Resources in Bujdour 27. Freedom Sun Organization in Smara 28. Saharawis Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Samara 29. Organization Against Torture in Dakhla, western Sahara 30. The Saharawi committee for the defence of human rights in Zag 31. The Saharawi committee for human rights monitoring in Assa 32. The Saharawi committee for the defence of human rights in Glaimim 33. The Saharawi organization for the defence of freedoms and dignity 34. El Ghad for human rights Saharawi refugee camps: 35. Comisión Nacional Saharaui de Derechos Humanos (CONASADH) 36. Unión Nacional de Mujeres Saharauis (UNMS) 37. Unión Nacional de Trabajadores de Saguia El Hamra y Rio de Oro (UGTSARIO) 38. Unión Nacional de la Juventud de Saguia El Hamra y Rio de Oro (UJSARIO) 39. Unión Nacional de Estudiantes de Saguia El Hamra y Rio de Oro (UESARIO) 40. Unión de Juristas Saharauis (UJS) 41. Unión de Periodistas y Escritores Saharauis (UPES) 42. Observatorio Saharaui de Recursos Naturales 43. Asociación de Familiares de Presos y Desaparecidos Saharauis (AFAPREDESA) 44. Grupo Non-Violence Active (NOVA SAHARA OCCIDENTAL) 45. Asociación de Víctimas de Minas (ASAVIM) 46. Asociatción de Abogados Saharauis (UAS) 47. Campaña Saharaui para la sensibilisación sobre el peligro de Minas (SCBL) 48. The Saharawi campaign against the plunder SCAP 49. The Union of Saharawi farmers 50. L’union des ingénieurs Sahraoui 51. L’union des artisans Sahraouis Saharawi Diaspora : 52. Saharawi association in the USA (SAUSA) 53. VZW de vereniging van de Saharawi gemeenschap in Belgie – Belgium 54. Association culture Sahara – centre de France 55. Association des femmes Saharawi en France 56. La league des jeunes et des etudients Saharawi en France 57. Association de la communauté Saharaoui en France 58. Association culturelle franco-Saharaouie 59. Association des Sahraouis en France 60. Association des Sahraouis de Bordeaux 61. Asociación de abogados saharauis en España 62. Asociación de médicos saharauis en España 63. La liga de deportistas saharauis en España 64. La liga de periodistas saharauis en España 65. Comunidad Saharaui en las palmas 66. Asociación de saharauis en Tenerife 67. Asociación de saharauis en Fuerteventura 68. Colectivo saharaui en Lanzarote 69. Asociación de saharauis en bal 70. Asociación ARDI HURRA en Sevilla 71. Asociación de saharauis en lebrija 72. Colectivo de saharauis en Jaén 73. Asociación de saharauis en jerez de la frontera 74. Colectivo sah en estepona 75. Comunidad Saharaui en Granada 76. Asociación amal centro Andalucía 77. Comunidad Saharaui en Murcia 78. Asociación de saharauis en alicante 79. Asociación de zamur Valencia 80. Comunidad Saharaui en Catalunya 81. Comunidad Saharaui en Aragón 82. Asociación de saharauis en valdepeñas 83. Comunidad Saharaui en Castilla la Mancha 84. Asociación de saharauis en Ávila 85. Comunidad Saharaui en Castilla y León 86. Asociación de saharauis en Navarra 87. DISABI Bizkaia 88. Sahara Euskadi Vitoria 89. Sahara Gasteiz Vitoria 90. Amal nanclares 91. Tawasol lludio 92. Tayuch Amurio 93. Colectivo saharaui en GIPUZKOA 94. La liga de estudiantes en España 95. Green Western Sahara Association 96. Sahara not for Sale – Saharawi Association in Brussels 97. Association des Saharawi de Toulouse 98. Assiciation des Saharawi de Périgueux
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