started this petition to
We call on the EU to abide by the judgment of its own Supreme Court, and to cease all trade talks regarding Western Sahara with the occupying state, Morocco. As a champion for rule of law and human rights, the EU should respect the rights of the Saharawi people and negotiate trade in goods from Western Sahara with their representatives, the Polisario Front.
Commission is negotiating a revised EU-Morocco Agreement that would allow the
EU to continue importing goods from Western Sahara.
Western Sahara, a
territory the size of the United Kingdom, is treated by the UN as an unresolved colonial conflict, stemming
from the time that Morocco illegally annexed parts of the former Spanish colony
more than 40 years ago. Half the people live as refugees, while Moroccan
settlers have outnumbered the local Saharawis. The EU wishes to import Western
Sahara products (such as fish and agriculture products) through its trade deal
In December 2016, the
Court of Justice of the European Union
(CJEU) ruled that no EU trade or association deal with Morocco can be applied
to Western Sahara, as it is a “distinct and separate territory” from
Morocco, unless with the express consent of “the people of Western Sahara”.
would appear that the EU Commission is seeking to circumvent the ruling of the
1) negotiating exclusively with Morocco and
ignoring the exclusive, legitimate and UN-recognized representative of the
people of Western Sahara, the Polisario Front;
confusing the “people” of Western Sahara with the “population” of Western
Sahara, i.e. a majority of Moroccan settlers and the few remaining Saharawis
that haven’t been forced to flee to exile;
3) seeking some Moroccan institution or body
to provide the consent of the “population”.
If so, the EU’s
response to the landmark ruling of the CJEU on Western Sahara would fail to
uphold the fundamental rights of the Saharawi people, undermine the EU’s
credibility as a law-abiding regional block and create legal uncertainty for
We believe that the
rights and the future of the Saharawi people and the fundamental tenets of the
European legal order, which concern all Europeans, cannot be brushed aside merely for the geopolitical and commercial
interests of a few.
The EU needs to respect EU and international law, and
abide by the judgment of the EU Court of Justice. Morocco has no mandate to
negotiate with the EU on behalf of the people of Western Sahara.
Together, we can send the EU a strong signal that the days of trade over
people are finished. Sign up!
Posted: 5 July 2017 (Updated: 17 August 2017)