UK TURNS BLIND EYE TO UNLAWFUL EU FISHING DEAL
EU-MOROCCO PARTNERSHIP BREACHES INTERNATIONAL LAW, WARNS MEP
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 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,” said Caroline Lucas, Green Party MEP for South-East
But members of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee voted to
support the proposed deal – after the UK government advised MEPs not to
oppose it. The Fisheries Partnership Agreement will be subject to a full
vote of the European Parliament in Strasbourg next week.
“Putting the official stamp of approval on any deal with Morocco over EU
access to the territory it occupied during its invasion of Western Sahara –
including its territorial waters – will make the EU complicit in region’s
terrible and ongoing human rights abuses,” she added.
“The UK’s refusal to direct Labour MEPs to oppose the deal reveals a
Government which cares more about commercial and political concerns than
international law and preventing human rights abuses and conflict.”
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
The MEP, who is also Principal Speaker of the Green Party, said: “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 countries annexing their neighbours and persecuting
their indigenous peoples needn’t present a bar to doing business with the