Mission of the Western Sahara

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Monthly Archives: December 2015

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Calls on United Nations Human Rights Committee to Press Morocco on its Abuses in Western Sahara During Upcoming Review

(December 23, 2015 | Washington, D.C.) Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, in partnership with several other non-governmental organizations and academics, has submitted an alternative report including a list of questions and recommendations for the United Nations Human Rights Committee to consider regarding Western Sahara as it reviews the Kingdom of Morocco’s human rights record.

The submission presented by Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and its partners argues that Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara is illegal under international law and furthers violations to the rights of the Sahrawi people to self-determination, as well as their rights to access and use their natural resources. The submission further emphasizes violations perpetrated by the Moroccan authorities and against the Sahrawi people under the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), including violations to the rights to freedom of assembly and expression, association, life, dignity, movement, and privacy, among others.

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Crimes committed by Morocco: Three new mass graves discovered in Sahrawi territories

Dakhla (refugee camps), December 18, 2015 (SPS) – Three new s graves have been recently discovered in the Sahrawi territories by Spanish experts, said Thursday in Dakhla (Sahrawi refugee camps), President of the Association of Sahrawi prisoners and missing families (AFRAPREDESA), Omar Abdeslam.

The president of the AFRAPREDESA, who was speaking to journalists, on the sidelines of the 14th Polisario Front Congress, stressed that the “process of bones exhumation is at the first stage,” adding that “he could not give further details about the places of the three mass graves,” which unveil the crimes against humanity committed by the Moroccan occupier.

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Moroccan king’s holding most affected by ECJ Ruling (WSRW)

The European Court of Justice has annulled the EU-Morocco trade relations because they included the territory of occupied Western Sahara. The businessman who will be most affected by that ruling turns out to be the Moroccan king. 


A story published yesterday in the online Morocco news agency Anayir reveals that the holding ‘Les Domaines’ will be most affected by the ECJ Ruling. Les Domaines is owned by the King of Morocco. The king’s holding owns large plantations and greenhouses in Dakhla, all the way south in Western Sahara, also known as Africa’s last colony that has been largely military occupied by Morocco since 1975.

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The African Union notes the importance of the judgment of the European Union Court of Justice on the exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara and calls for renewed international efforts to address this issue

Addis Ababa, 12 December 2015: The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, notes the importance of the judgment of the European Union (EU) Court of Justice of 10 December 2015, which annulled the trade deal in agricultural and fisheries products, concluded, in March 2012, between the Kingdom of Morocco and the EU, due to its inclusion of Western Sahara. It should be recalled that Western Sahara has been inscribed since 1963 on the list of territories to which the UN General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960 on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and People applies.

– See more at: http://www.peaceau.org/en/article/the-african-union-notes-the-importance-of-the-judgment-of-the-european-union-court-of-justice-on-the-exploitation-of-the-natural-resources-of-western-sahara-and-calls-for-renewed-international-efforts-to-address-this-issue#sthash.HZtb2JRp.dpuf

The controversial start-up of the annulled agreement

16 February 2012, the now-banned trade agreement was approved by the European Parliament. That did not happen without fierce debate.

This was a special time in the EU-Moroccan relations. The EU institutions were fully aware of the controversies of EU dealings in Western Sahara. Just few weeks before, the European Parliament had rejected the renewal of a Morocco-EU fisheries agreement covering the waters offshore the occupied territory, and matters of international law were one of the key concerns among the Members of Parliament.

The debate over Western Sahara was so intense in the EU institutions, that the former fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki suggested excluding Western Sahara from the application of a new fisheries agreement that was about to be negotiated.

So how did that vote go through in such a context?

The arguments circulating during the parliament debate has been outlined in an article by WSRW board member Erik Hagen earlier this year, in the article ‘Fish Before Peace – the EU in Western Sahara’, appearing in the French anthology Lutter au Sahara (2015). The whole article (which has the fisheries agreement as its main focus) can be read here. The below segment is a small part of that bigger article. The Legal Opinion of the Parliament Legal Services, from 2011, is also worth a read.

European Court annuls EU trade agreement with Morocco

The European Court of Justice has this morning ordered the annulment of a trade agreement between Morocco and the European Union since it includes the territory of Western Sahara. “A landmark decision in the history of the occupation of Western Sahara”, states WSRW. Press conference in Brussels, Friday.

The Council Decision 2012/497 of 8 March 2012 on the conclusion of an Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco concerning reciprocal liberalisation measures on agricultural products, processed agricultural products, fish and fishery products, the replacement of Protocols 1, 2 and 3 and their Annexes and amendments to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part, is annulled insofar as it permits the implementation of the agreement in Western Sahara” [“…est annulée en ce qu’elle approuve l’application dudit accord au Sahara occidental”]

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Norway’s KLP Pension Fund Drops Glencore Over Western Sahara Oil

(Bloomberg) — KLP, Norway’s largest life insurer, said it will sell shares of Glencore Plc and no longer invest in the Swiss resource company because its oil-exploration activities off the coast of Western Sahara risk violating “fundamental ethical norms.”

It’s “difficult to conclude” that companies including Glencore can engage in oil exploration off the coast of Western Sahara “in a manner consistent with international law,” the Oslo-based pension fund manager said in a statement on its website.

Oil exploration by Glencore and others offshore of Western Sahara has been criticized by non-governmental organizations, including Switzerland’s Berne Declaration, because parts of the disputed North African territory have been occupied by Morocco in a decades-long conflict. Morocco, which has been present ever since Spain withdrew in 1975, claims centuries-old historic rights over Western Sahara, a territory the size of Colorado and often described as Africa’s last colony.

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