Launch of Fish Elsewhere: No EU Fishing in Western Sahara, 2006
Campaigners from 19 European countries came together today to stop the European Union ratifying an Agreement which will violate international law and see European boats fishing in the waters of Africa’s last colony. Press release, 13 February 2006.
Launch of Fish Elsewhere: No EU Fishing in Western Sahara
Press release Campaign "Fish Elsewhere" 13 February 2006
Campaigners from 19 European countries came together today to stop the European Union ratifying an Agreement which will violate international law and see European boats fishing in the waters of Africa’s last colony.
The campaign, Fish Elsewhere, calls on Members of the European Parliament and the EU’s member states to specifically prohibit EU vessels from fishing in the waters of the Western Sahara. The Agreement, which is due to be approved by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers in coming weeks, currently fails to specify the southern limit of Morocco, thereby allowing fishing licenses to be granted in the waters of Western Sahara, a territory which Morocco has oc cupied for 30 years. The Agreement could also see the EU funding development projects for illegal Moroccan settlers in the territory. The EU remains sharply divided on the issue, as Saharawi waters constitute an excellent fishing resource which many European countries would like to access.
Nick Dearden, Campaigns Officer from War on Want, said: “In the very year in which the Saharawi people commemorate 30 years spent in refugee camps, the EU is signing an Agreement which will allow European countries to profit from their misery. We are calling on the EU to amend this Agreement, which in its current state violates the policy of EU member states and the EU itself.”
Carlos Wilson from Western Sahara Resources Watch, said: “If the United States can preclude Western Sahara from its Free Trade Agreement, there is no excuse for the EU failing to make a similar preclusion. The Saharawi have lived a desperate life for 30 years now. It’s about time the EU put its resources into solving this conflict, not inflaming it.”
Background: In 1975, Morocco invaded the Western Sahara against the express wishes of the United Nations and International Court of Justice. Tens of thousands of Saharawi fled for their lives into the Algerian Desert, where 165,000 refugees still live today, in some of the harshest conditions on earth. Although the United Nations promised a referendum in Western Sahara in 1991, the peace process has been stalled. Since last summer, Morocco has harshly repressed Saharawi demonstrations in the Occupied Territory, where tens of thousands of Saharawi still live in a police state.
Primary contacts for this Press Release: Nick Dearden, War on Want, UK, tel (+44) 7932-335-464, ndearden@...
Carlos Wilson, Western Sahara Resource Watch –United States, tel (+1) 858-755-9440 csaharawi@...
For more information, including European contacts, see: www.fishelsewhere.org.
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.
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