War on Want hails Saharawi victory over EU-Morocco trade deal

11 December 2015 - 10:00am
Press release

War on Want welcomes yesterday's European Court of Justice ruling that an EU-Morocco trade agreement must be annulled because it permits implementation of its terms not only in Morocco but also in the occupied territory of Western Sahara.

The 2012 trade agreement covers agricultural, processed agricultural and fisheries produce, and has been widely criticised for laying claim to the natural resources of the Saharawi people living under occupation.

The EU is also pressing ahead with negotiations towards a new 'deep and comprehensive' free trade agreement with Morocco, and has repeatedly ignored international calls to exclude the occupied territory of Western Sahara from the talks.

John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want and a member of the first British parliamentary delegation to visit Occupied Western Sahara, said:

"We welcome this ruling by the European Court of Justice as an important acknowledgement that the natural resources of Western Sahara belong to the Saharawi people alone.

"It is a disgrace that the EU continues to negotiate agreements with Morocco relating to a territory that neither Brussels nor Rabat has any right to trade away.

"We call on the EU to respect this judgement by suspending its current negotiations towards a new free trade agreement with Morocco immediately."

The European Court of Justice ruling was handed down on International Human Rights Day (10 December), a reminder of the gross human rights violations endured by the Saharawi people living under Moroccan occupation.

In addition, it was 40 years ago today (on 11 December 1975) that Moroccan troops first entered the capital of Western Sahara, El Aaiún, and commenced their military occupation of the territory.

NOTES TO EDITORS

John Hilary is available for interviews on +44 7983 550727.

The full text of the European Court of Justice ruling (in French only) is here.

Further details of the EU-Morocco trading regime can be found here.

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