Illegal EU fish agreement with Morocco now ratified by King
The King of Morocco has now ratified its dirty fisheries agreement with EU, allowing EU vessels to fish in Western Sahara waters under Moroccan occupation. The European Commission fails in geography regarding the location of the fisheries in communiqué.
Photo above: Many Saharawis were injured by Moroccan police as they on 10 December 2013 demostrated in frustration over the EU's plans to pay Morocco to fish in Western Sahara's waters. On the same day - at the 1 year anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU, the Parliament voted to pay Morocco millions of Euros annually for an agreement that undermines the UN peace efforts in the territory.The EU last year negotiated a fisheries agreement with the Kingdom of Morocco for waters which are not Moroccan. That deal passed its last formal hurdle as the Moroccan king personally signed the agreement.
Morocco has brutally and illegally occupied the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara since 1975. Its claims are rejected by the International Court of Justice, while the UN is assisting the two parties – Morocco and the Saharawi people – to find a solution.
Yet, the EU is from now on going to pay Morocco 30 million Euros each year for issuing fishing rights in those waters. In addition, the fishermen will pay the Moroccan government 10 million Euros annually.
In total, that amount exceeds the entire multinational humanitarian aid package which the owners of that same fish receive. The owners, deeply affected by long term malnutrition, have been living in refugee camps ever since Morocco invaded the territory.
A communiqué released by the European Commission 15 July 2014 labels the fishing grounds as “Moroccan waters” – while they are in fact going to fish in waters which never in the history of Morocco haveg been Moroccan. No states in the world – including all EU member states – recognize the Moroccan claims to the territory. The communiqué from the Commission also states it will benefit “Moroccan fishermen” – who evidently have moved into the territory in violation of the Geneva Conventions. No mention whatsoever is made to Western Sahara or the Saharawi people.
At no point during the negotiation for the fisheries agreement did the EU institutions seek the consent of the Saharawi people. According to the UN, such an agreement needs to be in line with their wishes for it to be legal. The EU-Morocco fisheries accord is not.
“This agreement is a deep provocation to the entire Saharawi people. The EU sends a message to the Saharawis that the union does not prioritise international law and that it is willing to abandon its talks of peace and solidarity if it is to its own short-term benefit. It is evident that the suffering of the Saharawi people will continue as long as Morocco economically and politically scores points on the occupation”, stated Erik Hagen, chair of Western Sahara Resource Watch.
“It would make just as little sense if the EU signed trade agreements with Putin for Ukraine. The agreement undermines all that EU claims to be representing”, stated Hagen.
WSRW condemns the EU upcoming plunder of the territory and its payments to the Moroccan government for access to such licenses. WSRW expresses its solidarity to the people of Western Sahara, both those in exile, and to those suffering the abuse of Moroccan repression on a daily basis in the occupied territory, and calls on the UN to intervene to stop the EU from undermining the peace efforts undertaken by Ban Ki-Moons special envoy to the territory.
The EU considers to pay Morocco to fish in occupied Western Sahara. An EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement from 2013 would be both politically controversial and in violation of international law.
The international Fish Elsewhere! campaign demands the EU to avoid such unethical operations, and go fishing somewhere else. No fishing in Western Sahara should take place until the conflict is solved.