MEP: ‘UK MUST PULL OUT OF UNLAWFUL FISHING DEAL’
PROPOSED EU-MOROCCO PARTNERSHIP LEGITIMISES INVASION OF WESTERN SAHARA AND
BREACHES INTERNATIONAL LAW, WARNS LUCAS
A PROPOSED fisheries deal between the EU and Morocco would legitimize the
kingdom’s invasion of Western Sahara and persecution of the Saharawi people
– and breach several international treaties, a Euro-MP has warned.
The EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement, which was singed by
representatives of the EU and Morocco last summer but is yet to entire into
force, should be rewritten to exclude the coastal waters of Western Sahara,
Green MEP Caroline Lucas has told Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
“The fisheries agreement as it stands would give EU boats the right to
exploit the natural reserves of the Saharawi people – a right they have
explicitly not granted and which the occupying nation, Morocco, has no legal
right to grant,” she said.
“The Western Sahara is considered by the United Nations to be a
Territory, but Morocco is not recognized by the UN as the administering
power, as both the EU Council and the European Commission have admitted.
“Ratifying this deal as it stands would would legitimise the occupation and
grant the EU commercial access to occupied territory, violating
international law and prolonging the conflict, and I have urged both the
Foreign Office and DEFRA to ensure the agreement is redrafted before it
enters into force.”
Since Western Sahara was annexed by Morocco some 30 years ago tens of
thousands of Saharawi people have been forced out of their homes. They and
their children continue to live in refugee camps in the Algerian desert.
Meanwhile thousands more Saharawis live in the Occupied Territory of Western
Sahara, facing harsh repression and grinding poverty.
Polisario, the internationally recognized representative of the Saharawi
people, has written to Prime Minister Tony Blair explicitly and publicly
condemning the inclusion of the waters off the Western Sahara in the fishing
Dr Lucas is also challenging the legality of the Fisheries Partnership
Agreement in a series of Parliamentary Questions and correspondence with the
She added: “If the EU is to be a force for peace it simply must respect
international law intended to protect nations from occupation and invasion.
Failure to do so will send out the signal that African countries annexing
their neighbours and persecuting their indigenous peoples needn’t present a
bar to doing business with the EU.”