The EU is about to grant a so-called ‘advanced status’ for Morocco . The move will be made now under the French presidency. “No one seems to mind that Morocco is an illegal occupying power violating the most fundamental human rights”, said WSRW international coordinator.
Despite the current grave human rights situation in occupied Western Sahara, the EU is in July planning to further deepen their relationship with Morocco , by giving the regime a so-called “advanced status”.
“It is far too early for the EU to give Morocco any such kind of green light. If EU wants to maintain the image as a credible defender of international law and human rights, it cannot invite an illegal occupying power into their home in this manner”, international coordinator of Western Sahara Resource Watch, Javier García Lachica stated.
Morocco has requested ‘advanced status’ from the EU since 2005. They first signed an Association Agreement with the EU in 2000 and it was one of the first countries to sign a Neighbourhood Action Plan in July 2005 as part of the European Neighbourhood Policy.
Although the EU repeatedly states its commitment to upholding the principles of human rights in all areas of its external policy, earlier this year, Benita Fererro-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations announced that the agreement to grant Morocco advanced status could be finalized under the French presidency of the European Union.
Whilst the terms of this status are still being agreed, it would certainly serve to deepen the EU’s relationship with Morocco, in stark contradiction to the EU’s emphasis on human rights.
The agreement could also de facto lead to a strengthening of Morocco's foothold in Western Sahara through further Moroccan investments in Western Sahara.
“Before any advanced statues can be given to Morocco, a full human rights investigation must be undertaken by the EU. Furthermore, Morocco must clearly show their readiness to stop violating human rights against Saharawis, and show a will to end the illegal occupation of the neighbouring country”, García Lachica stated.
“There is no place in the EU for occupying powers”, stated García Lachica.
During the past week, Saharawi victims of severe human rights violations have taken to the streets of El-Aaiún, demanding more respect for their socio-economic rights. Protesters carried slogans calling attention to the ongoing plunder of Saharawi natural resources, perpetrated by Morocco and complicit foreign interests.
The Danish organisation Afrika Kontakt demands that the Danish government do not support Morocco's occupation through the EU cooperation.
Statement from Western Sahara Resource Watch, 24 March 2009.