PRESS CONFERENCE: Frente Polisario is organising a press conference tomorrow. Where: European Parliament, room A5E-1 When: 22 December 2016, 10am-11:30 Polisario's lawyers and leadership will attend. Refugees from Western Sahara, who fled their homeland after Morocco invaded it in 1975, are today celebrating their victory in the Court of Justice of the EU.
Technically speaking, the liberation Polisario lost the legal case they had filed. However, it gained all what it had hoped for - and more. Following the judgment, the EU now has to make sure no goods from occupied Western Sahara are part of the trade with Morocco. For several years, the EU Commission has dodged the question of whether or not the occupied territory is included in the agreement, and implicitly allowed Western Sahara products to be part of the trade.
The court confirmed today that Polisario indeed is representing the people of Western Sahara. However, since Western Sahara is not part of Morocco, it concluded that the case must be dismissed. It also underlined clearly the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people. So while Polisario lost the case itself, the court gave them the victory of excluding the entire territory - not only from the 2012 trade agreement, but even from the entire 2000 Association Agreement that the trade is based on.
The Saharawi Campaign Against the Plunder (SCAP) wrote in a release today that it is considers it a landmark in the peaceful struggle of the Saharawi people.
“International law and legality is guarantor for peace in the region and Morocco's illegal occupation of our country Western Sahara should come to an end by giving us the chance to decide on the natural resources of our land” stated Jalihenna Mohamed, coordinator for SCAP. He added that “the European Union should make sure that Western Sahara goods and products are no longer imported to Europe”.
Find high resolution version of images below by clicking on each. Free for use, no credit needed.
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.
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.