UN former legal chief slams EU legal view as "preposterous"
The EU will pay Morocco to fish offshore Western Sahara - a territory which is under Moroccan occupation. Former UN Legal Counsel calls the EU's misuse of his assessment to defend fisheries in Western Sahara "preposterous", according to TIME magazine.
Much has been stated about the EU misuse of the UN Legal Opinion from 2002.
The UN Legal Counsel and UN under-secretary for legal affairs, Ambassador Hans Corell, in 2002 wrote a legal opinion for the UN Security Council stating that the "interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara" must be taken into account in such issues.
The conclusion was perhaps not surprising, as no state in the world recognise the Moroccan claims to the territory, and more than 100 UN resolutions call for the Saharawi people's right to self-determination.
Yet, the EU institutions have repeatedly ignored that conclusion, and signed agreements with the Moroccan government for the use of natural resources in Western Sahara. The requests and protests from the Saharawi people have consistantly been ignored. At the same time, the EU institutions have claimed to have legal basis on the UN legal opinion by Ambassador Corell.
“The E.U.’s interpretation of the legal opinion is preposterous,” Hans Corell told TIME this week.
“It is utterly embarrassing that the international community has been unable to solve this conflict. Since Morocco is able to capitalize in Western Sahara, there will be no incentive at all to change the situation", Corell stated.
EU this year will reopen fisheries in the occupied territory. The Moroccan government will receive 40 million Euros annually for the illegal issuing of fishing licences in the territory it has annexed.
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 five 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.
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