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.
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.”
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)
For more information, including European contacts, see:
The former Legal Counsel to the UN Security Counsel, Mr. Hans Corell, comments on the EU's fisheries activities in Western Sahara.
Polisario has a case, but it should be pursued when the time is right, Court implies.
Notwithstanding four consecutive rulings of the EU's highest Court calling such a practice illegal, the European Parliament has just now voted in favour of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement that will be applied to the waters of occupied Western Sahara.