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Morocco today deported a delegation of Members of the European parliament from the occupied city of Laayoune in Western Sahara. The delegation, all members of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Western Sahara, was headed by Swedish MEP Jytte Guteland (S&D). The other MEPs are Paloma Lopez(GUE/NGL), Bodil Valero (Greens/EFA), Lidia Senra (GUE/NGL), and Josu Juaristi (GUE/NGL). Commenting today, Polisario EU Representative Mohamed Sidati said:

“This is yet another example of Morocco’s deliberate and continual attempt to hide its ongoing and systematic human rights abuses in the occupied territories of Western Sahara.

I spoke with the delegation to express our solidarity, and thank them for their efforts to see for themselves the dire human rights situation for Sahrawis living under Morocco’s illegal occupation. The delegation was set to meet with Human Rights organisations and activists, as well as a broad spectrum of Civil Society representatives in the occupied territories of Western Sahara.

I call on the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, and EU Foreign Ministers, to clearly and unequivocally condemn Morocco’s actions today, and call on Morocco to allow immediate access to the occupied territories for international observers and media. The EU must be prepared to stand up for the values of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and make clear to Morocco that its illegal occupation and systematic human rights abuses will not be met with silence.

Morocco’s actions today are yet another example of its deliberate campaign to hide its brutal occupation and human rights abuses from the international community; including its mass illegal detention of Sahrawi political activists, and ongoing illegal exploitation of Western Sahara’s natural resources. The European Union must call on Morocco to uphold its responsibilities under international law, and in parallel ensure EU Member States comply with international and EU law with regard to Morocco’s illegal occupation of Western Sahara. Unless the EU takes clear and immediate steps, it’s silence and actions will only serve to further undermine the possibility of the UN political process resuming with a chance of success.