"If the EU is to raise its credibility with the African Union, reviewing its stance toward Africa’s last colonial conflict would be a good place to start", reads WSRW's letter published in European Voice today.
The European Union’s envisioned “continent-to-continent partnership” with the African Union is indicative of a commendable shift in approach toward Africa by the European Commission (“Africa’s competing influences”, 16-22 September).
But how is the Commission to build up political capital with the African Union (AU) when it undermines the AU’s decisions? How can the EU support the illegal occupation of one of the AU’s member states and still believe that the AU will take its voice seriously?
That member state is the Saharawi Republic – the Western Sahara, which has been occupied by Morocco for 35 years. The AU advocates the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination.
This is a position that is completely in line with international law. It reflects the view of the United Nations, which lists Western Sahara among the world’s ‘non-selfgoverning territories’ – that is, non-decolonised territories. This is Africa’s last colonial conflict.
The EU does the opposite. Via bilateral agreements covering the territory of Western Sahara, the EU provides Morocco with millions of euros. It thereby implicitly legitimises Morocco’s illegal and untenable claim to its southern neighbour. In choosing to pursue economic interests over its international legal obligations, the EU undercuts both the AU and the peace process led by the UN.
Because of the Western Sahara conflict, Morocco is the only African country that is not a member of the AU. Yet Morocco was the first country with which the EU established ‘advanced status’ relations.
If the EU is to raise its credibility with the AU, reviewing its stance toward Africa’s last colonial conflict would be a good place to start.
Sara Eyckmans Western Sahara Resource Watch Brussels
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.