Sahara Press Service (El Aaiun)

19 March 2013

Morocco: Over 60 European MEPS Express Their Concern About Ongoing Fisheries Agreement Negotiations With Morocco

Brussels — Over 60 MEPs from the European Parliamentary intergroup Western Sahara ,representing all politically groups ,including the Rapporteur for the European Parliament's resolution on the external dimension of EU fisheries policy Isabella Lovin, expressed on Monday their concern regarding the ongoing negotiations between EU and Morocco for a fisheries partnership agreement which includes waters of the occupied Western Sahara.

"As you recall, the fisheries agreement between the EU and Morocco, can only be concluded if fundamentals human rights are respected by Morocco ... and if the agreement complies with international law" said the intergroup Western Sahara, in a letter sent to the European High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Kathrin Ashton and to the European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki.

"Given the exploitation of the resources of non-self-governing Territory, compliance with international law requires that the agreement must be concluded to the benefit of and in accordance with the wishes of the People of Western Sahara"

"We want to stress that the mere inclusion of a human rights clause in a fisheries protocol does not make the agreement in a compliance with international law. In addition, the human rights clause makes only sense if it is truly respected,"

"Several reports from Morocco and Western Sahara confirm continued abuses of human rights including torture and ill-treatment violation of the freedom and free assembly" said MEPs in their letter, adding that they don't evaluate that human rights situation in Morocco and in occupied Western Sahara "as compliant with international human rights standards,"

"We want to underline further that Morocco's denial of entry for four Members of the European Parliament on 6March who wanted to observe the human rights situation in the occupied Western Sahara does not help to dissolve the concerns about the human rights situations"

Finally the MEPs stressed on the position of the European Parliament in its resolution of December14, 2011 on future protocol for a fisheries agreement with Morocco stating " that any future fisheries agreement should include a clause of compliance with human rights and it should fully respect international law."

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