Brussels, June 13, 2018 (SPS) - Over 90 Sahrawi civil society organizations on Tuesday condemned the European Commission's willingness to continue its illegal practices in Western Sahara, and urging the European Council and Parliament to reject any EU-Morocco agreement that includes this non-autonomous territory without the "explicit" consent of its legitimate representative, the Frente POLISARIO.
In a statement released few days after the gathering organized near the European Commission and Council headquarters to denounce the manoeuvres of the European executive to include Western Sahara in the EU-Morocco agreements, 93 civil society organizations called the European Council and Parliament to ensure full compliance with decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
In decisions dated 21 December 2016 and 27 February 2018, the CJEU had clearly defined the status of Western Sahara as a "separate" and "distinct" territory, subject to a process of decolonization led by the European Union and the United Nations, recalled the NGOs.
The CJEU also rejected the alleged sovereignty of Morocco over Western Sahara and stressed the inapplicability of the EU-Morocco agreements to Western Sahara, making the consent of the people of Western Sahara the "essential precondition" to the legitimacy of any agreement.
According to these organizations, the European Commission ignored the key principles of the judgment.
"Instead of asking for the consent of the people of Western Sahara, the Commission has engaged in consultations with stakeholders while an agreement with Morocco had already been signed," the NGOs deplored. .
Moreover, they denounced "fallacious terms" used by representatives of the European Commission during public hearings in the European Parliament, replacing the notion of consent with that of "consultation process" and "the people of Western Sahara” by “local people.” These terms are “fundamentally different.”
"It is not the Saharawi civil society, and certainly not the Moroccan occupier, which have the right to consent or approve any agreement providing for the exploitation of Western Sahara’s natural resources and adjacent waters", they said.
Deploring the current approach of the Commission, which "prolongs the occupation and the suffering of the Saharawi people", the NGOs regretted the reduction of the humanitarian aid indispensable to the Saharawi refugees. SPS