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Protest the EU partnership plans for Western Sahara

On December 5th 2008, a petition letter signed by 426 organisations was sent to the EU commission demanding that occupied Western Sahara be kept outside of the Morocco-EU socalled Advanced Status cooperation. Do you wish your organisation had signed, but did not make the deadline?
Published: 25.12 - 2008 12:56Printer version    
The petition below advocating the exclusion of Western Sahara from the Advanced Status talks and ensuing agreement, was opened 1 November 2008, and in principle ended 5th of December 2008. On that date the petition, signed by 426 organisations, was sent to the EU Commission.

However, after the deadline, some organisations have told us that they had wished to sign had they known about the campaign in time.

Is your organisation among those?

In that case, we are still interested in adding your organisation to the name of signatories protesting the plans.

If you still want to sign, please do so by sending an email to Sara Eyckmans on

Please provide her with:
1) the name of your organisation (in local language, and possibly English translation of organisation name)
2) the home country of your organisation
3) name of the person signing on behalf of your organisation.
4) write "Petition signature" in the Subject field of your mail.

Thank you,

Petition text

We, the signatories of this petition, demand that the European Union do not grant a so-called Advanced Status to Morocco, unless the occupied part of Western Sahara is specifically excluded from the agreement.

The EU and Morocco are currently in discussion on deepening their ties through this cooperation but, so far, there has been no mentioning in the reports from the EU-Morocco talks as to what is being done to prevent occupied Western Sahara from being included into the cooperation agreement.

If the EU would actually grant Advanced Status to occupied Western Sahara, through its negotiations with Morocco as the occupying power, it will give an unfortunate sign of support to the unfounded Moroccan claims over the territory. It could also lead to the EU damaging the UN's efforts to decolonise the territory.

We would like to underline that Morocco continues to be an illegally occupying power in Western Sahara, in violation of over 100 UN Resolutions which call for the Western Sahara's people's right to self-determination. A number of Resolutions point to the fact that Western Sahara is an occupied and annexed territory. Furthermore, the International Court of Justice has rejected Morocco's claims over Western Sahara, and the UN considers the Western Sahara case as a decolonisation issue.

Under international customary law, the EU and its member states have a duty of non-recognition of the Moroccan annexation of Western Sahara, and to support the decolonisation of the territory. It is also a moral obligation, as long as the Sahrawi people suffer either in exile or under severe human rights violations committed by the Moroccan forces in the occupied territories of Western Sahara.

The EU should therefore make sure that Western Sahara is unambiguously excluded from the territorial applicability of the Advanced Status cooperation, without delegating this responsibility to Morocco itself.

If the EU was to make such a precision, it would follow for instance the USA, who in their free trade agreement with Morocco have specifically excluded Western Sahara. It would also follow its own example of excluding the Palestinian territories from the EU-Israel Association Agreement. We urge the EU to follow these precedents and support the UN peace process by respecting its duty of non-recognition.

We, the signatories of this petition, are in principle not against a strengthened cooperation between the EU and Morocco. However, we demand that the agreement coming out of the Advanced Status talks will clearly specify that its applicability shall not extend further south than to Morocco's internationally recognised southern border, namely 27'40'N.

Sincerely yours,

See list of signatories




Since 1975, three quarters of the territory of Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco. A majority of the population is still living in refugee camps in Algeria. Those who remained in their homeland are subjected to serious harassment from the Moroccan occupiers. For more than 40 years the Sahrawis have been waiting for the fullfilment of their legitimate right to self-determination.

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