About 900 Sahrawi Representatives Support Extension of EU-Morocco Fisheries & Farm Deals
About 900 elected Sahrawi representatives, politicians and civil society militants have called on the European Union to extend the fisheries and farm accords with Morocco, underlining the positive impacts of these agreements on the socioeconomic development of the Sahara and its local inhabitants.
They affirmed that these accords benefit directly the local population, saying the implementation of the EU-Morocco deals has contributed to an improvement of the working conditions of tens of thousands of workers in the fisheries and agriculture sectors & in the Sahara as confirmed by a European Commission report published in September 2017.
“The Fisheries Agreement and the Agricultural Agreement concluded between the Kingdom of Morocco and the EU (…) promote the development of the marine fisheries and agriculture sectors and ensure that this is done with our participation and in keeping with our interests, said the Sahrawi representatives in their petition to the EU.
“From our southern provinces, we, the people, need and demand those international agreements that contribute to economic growth and job creation in our regions”, underlined the petitioners, citing in this regard the conclusion of the UN SG report (March 2018) which affirmed that Moroccan investments in the Sahara have continued, accompanied by the implementation or announcement of many projects.
“To oppose these two Agreements would put at risk the thousands of families who are financially dependent on maritime and agricultural activities in our southern provinces”, warned the Sahrawi petitioners.
“Building on the firm, permanent and renewed national unanimity, of all the representative bodies of the Moroccan people, of the different political authorities, institutions representatives of the regions of Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra and Dakhla-Oued Ed dahab, we, Parliamentarians, Members of the professional chambers, communal, provincial and regional elected representatives, all political affiliations combined, from free, transparent and indisputable elections, recognize Morocco as the only legitimate representative of our interests and of our will”.
They said that since Morocco completed its territorial integrity by recovering its southern provinces, it has made significant efforts towards their sustainable development.
“Noticeable progress made in our southern provinces as the result of our country’s efforts to make development, both at large and in our regions, our top priority”, underlined the petitioners, noting that the benefits from “our country’s commitment to the development of our southern provinces are well established”.
They stressed that the southern provinces are now ranked above the national average for human development indicators. Since 2015, they benefit from a new development model mobilizing 77 billion Dirhams and resulting in many projects impacting tourism, employment, the environment, culture, handicrafts, education, health, urban planning, roads, water, renewable energies, agriculture, transport and fisheries.
However, this not the case of “our compatriots who are imprisoned in the Tindouf camps in Algeria, only a few kilometers from the southern provinces of Morocco, said the petitioners.
They decried the situation of the Sahrawis sequestered in the Tindouf camps who endure tragic conditions in breach of international law. They suffer serious human rights violations and from systematic embezzlement of international humanitarian assistance by the polisario separatists.