Western Sahara: AFET Committee in the European Parliament urges EU to implement ECJ decisions

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(APS.dz) BRUSSELS – The Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament has adopted an amendment to the draft report on Parliament’s recommendations to the Council on the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, urging the EU to support the UN process for the regulation of the conflict in Western Sahara and to implement the decisions of its Court of Justice concerning that territory.

The amendment tabled by MEP Barbara Lochbihler on behalf of the Group of the Greens / European Free Alliance calls on the EU Council to “implement the judgments of the European Court of Justice on Western Sahara”.

On 21 December 2016, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided that the EU-Morocco association and liberalization agreements are not applicable to Western Sahara, underlining the “separate” and “distinct” status of this territory. , listed since 1963 on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories of the United Nations.

In its judgment, the CJEU stressed that no agreement can apply to this territory unless, the people of Western Sahara consents.

On 27 February 2018, the same Court issued another ruling ruling that the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement is not applicable to Western Sahara and its adjacent waters.

The amendment adopted by the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) in the European Parliament also urges the EU to “support the UN’s efforts to achieve a fair and lasting settlement of the conflict in Western Sahara, on the basis of the right to the self-determination of the Saharawi people and in accordance with the United Nations resolutions on the subject “.

In its recommendations to the Council, the European Parliament also calls for the extension of the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the organization of a referendum on self-determination in Western Sahara (Minurso) to the monitoring of human rights, like other UN peacekeeping missions around the world.

Despite the persistence of human rights violations in occupied Western Sahara, France continues to prevent the Security Council from including in the mandate of the Minurso a human rights component.

The situation of human rights in Western Sahara is indeed “worrying”. According to several human rights NGOs, the Saharawis continue to suffer social discrimination and the lack of respect for the freedoms of expression, assembly and association.

Cases of arbitrary detention are regularly reported and demonstrations are often repressed by Moroccan security forces.