The Court of Justice's decision to clearly exclude Western Sahara from EU-Morocco trade deals are met with celebrations among Saharawis. See images and videos coming in from refugee camps.
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.
The EU Commission and Council are 2 and 3 March being questioned by the Court of Justice regarding the EU's trade and fisheries agreements in occupied Western Sahara.
The leading MEP on the proposal to extend EU-Morocco trade relations into occupied Western Sahara wants a legal opinion to be certain the proposed Western Sahara trade scheme meets the standards of the highest EU Court. The European Parliament is to vote this afternoon.
Members of the European Parliament request more clarity before voting on the Commission's proposed trade deal for Western Sahara. Meanwhile, 93 Western Sahara civil society groups lament the Parliament rapporteur's lack of diligence on the file.
On Monday, the European Parliament's committee for International Trade decided to delay the ratification-process of the EU-Moroccan agricultural agreement due to legal ambiguities.