The European Union’s fisheries agreement with Morocco should be declared invalid because it includes the disputed territory of Western Sahara, an adviser to the EU’s top court said.
The EU and Morocco concluded an association agreement in 1996 and a partnership agreement in the fisheries sector in 2006, the validity of which was disputed by campaign groups in Britain.
“The fisheries exploitation by the EU of the waters adjacent to Western Sahara established and implemented by the contested acts does not respect the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination,” Advocate General Melchior Wathelet said.
The court often follows the Advocate General’s advice, but is not obliged to do so.
At present the territories of Western Sahara are partially controlled by the self-proclaimed Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic.
In 2016, the European Union (EU) declared that “Western Sahara is not part of Moroccan territory”. In March 2016, Morocco “expelled more than 70 U.N. civilian staffers with MINURSO” due to strained relations after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called Morocco’s annexation of Western Sahara an “occupation”.
The violence perpetrated on 31 December 2017 at New Year’s Eve in the Democratic Republic of Congo, resulted in deaths of a several demonstrators and left many wounded. Security forces killed at least seven people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) during protests against President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down from office, United Nations peacekeepers said.
“The use of violence by the Congolese authorities, including the interruption of religious services, aimed at suppressing any attempt at peaceful protest is contrary to the Congolese Constitution, which guarantees the right of demonstration and freedom of assembly” – says the statement of the European External Action Service (EEAS).
“Blocking media and social networks is also a serious violation of freedom of expression” – the EEAS statement continues.
“The EU extends its condolences to the families of the victims. It supports the call by MONUSCO / UNJHRO to condemn arbitrary arrests and calls for the immediate release of detainees, including some religious.”
“The Congolese authorities have a duty to protect their citizens and not to repress them. They must redouble their efforts to fully implement the relaxation of the New Year’s Eve Agreement, thus making progress towards credible elections in 2018. The EU will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
“The European Union echoes the concern and disappointment expressed by the Chairperson of IGAD Council of Ministers over the violations of the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access signed on 21 December by the Parties to the conflict in South Sudan” – says the European External Action Service spokesperson statement on the situation in South Sudan.
“All parties should respect their commitment to the cessation of hostilities. All forms of fighting have to come to an immediate end. The European Union calls on the monitoring mechanism for an immediate an throughout investigation with the support of UN mission to identify those responsible for the violations.”
“The European Union will continue to support IGAD and African Union efforts to bring peace to South Sudan. It reaffirms it readiness to use any necessary tools, including restrictive measures, towards those who act against peace and obstruct constructive dialogue and compromise, in line with recent African Union and IGAD resolutions Peace and any other provisions of International Law” – the statement concludes.
Ana GOMES, MEP (Portugal, S&D) reflects upon situation of migrants and asylum-seekers in Libya, many of whom are reportedly treated inhumanely, the issue discussed with High Representative Federica Mogherini on Tuesday, December 13, at Strasbourg plenary.
The easing of US sanctions on Sudan is an important step in Sudan’s efforts at reintegration into the international community. The EU expects Sudan to make further progress in addressing the several challenges that still remain.
In this regard, the EU encourages the Government of Sudan to progress further towards peace and reconciliation in Sudan. This includes the strengthening of the democratization process and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as the commitment to genuine political and economic reforms, addressing the root causes of conflict in Darfur and the Two Areas. Further efforts at respecting international humanitarian law and providing safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access to people in need remain also essential.
The EU is ready to accompany Sudan in this process, in particular towards free and credible elections and an inclusive constitutional review, in line with the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) roadmap led by President Mbeki, which the EU supports.
Continued cooperation in support of stability in the region remains critical.
European Parliament, Strasbourg Representatives of the European Alliance for Rescue Centres and Sanctuaries (EARS) and of AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection presented the views of CITES – accredited rescue centres, key players in struggle against wildlife trafficking.
The MEPs of the Intergroup for the Welfare and Conservation of Animals discussed the conditions of confiscated animals and the role of rescue centres. This issue will be debated at the upcoming CITES Standing Committee meeting, in the context of the implementation of CITES Resolution 17.8 on disposal of illegally traded specimens. The European Parliament Resolution urges parties to develop national plans to identify ways for procuring funds for the care of confiscated animals.
The speakers underlined that the staff of qualified rescue centres can offer expertise to the government in identifying, handling, transporting, housing, and caring for specimens, or can train government representatives in these skills. Rescue centres can keep detailed records which may prove invaluable for law enforcement purposes and ensure that animals are not sold, stolen, permitted to re-enter trade, unnecessarily euthanized, or improperly released. However, presently no consistent and clear standards exist for the designation and selection of rescue centres throughout the EU and they suffer from a chronic lack of funds and consideration.