4 December – 18 December

Protest (Public Assembly, symbolic public acts, slogans, singing. Repression: direct physical violence, control of information)

Unemployed Sahrawi Graduates Oppressed In International Human Rights Day

Unemployed Sahrawi Graduates celebrated the occasion of the 67th international human rights day under the slogan “a continuous struggle to achieve employment and protect human dignity”.

On Thursday 10 December the peaceful protesters held a demonstration at the corner of Alquds and Smara streets.

Unemployed Saharawis were beaten for demanding a job

Several Saharawis were allegedly injured in a demonstration in El Aaiun yesterday, in which youth demanded employment opportunities on their own land. Among them a 34 year old law graduate.

“Two officers took my banner from me, on which I had written that the wealth of natural resources in Western Sahara should guarantee me a job”, stated

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Violent repression of peaceful protest for disrupting the occupied El Aaiun

Political Prisoners (Repression: imprisonment)

Saharawi political prisoner Hamza Gamihi sentenced to two years in prison

7 December  2015 -Young Hamza Gamihi was arrested on June 04, 2013, in the city of Smara (occupied Western Sahara) following his participation in a peaceful demonstration demanding the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination.

Hamza Gamihi had spent four and a half months in pre-trial detention as a Sahrawi political prisoner, and was released on parole on October 30, 2013 along with a group of Saharawi political prisoners. On Wednesday The Moroccan Criminal Division of the Court of Appeals in the occupied city of El Aaiun (occupied Western Sahara) sentenced Hamza Gamihi to two years in prison.

Control of environmental Resources (Legal recourses, trade embargoes, appeal to human rights)

European Court annuls EU trade agreement with Morocco
10.12. 2015 The European Court of Justice ordered the annulment of a trade agreement between Morocco and the European Union since it includes the territory of Western Sahara. “A landmark decision in the history of the occupation of Western Sahara”, states WSRW. Press conference in Brussels, Friday.

Two other cases are currently dealt with in the ECJ. One is initiated by the same Frente Polisario, regarding EU fisheries in the territory. The other is a case initiated by Western Sahara Campaign UK regarding labelling of goods -; a case which was forwarded to the ECJ by a UK court in October 2015.

The EU is now in negotiations with Morocco for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. The EU has ignored all requests from WSRW to have the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara explicitly excluded from those negotiations.

Court Annuls EU Trade Accord With Morocco, Cites Western Sahara Issue
The Wall Street Journal, 10 December 2015, Judicial panel backs Polisario Front independence movement and says 2012 agreement shouldn’t apply to disputed territory

The case brought by the Polisario Front threatens a deal that had expanded duty-free status to dozens of Moroccan agricultural and fisheries products imported to the EU. However,  the judgment should have no immediate impact on commerce as the EU has over two months to appeal the ruling.

EU to Appeal Top Court’s Ruling on Morocco Trade Accord

The Wall Street Journal, 14 December 2015, EU’s second highest court had struck down agreement last week on Western Sahara concerns. The European Union said  it will appeal a ruling by one of the bloc’s top courts.

In its ruling, the EU’s General Court—its second highest tribunal—said the bloc hadn’t carried out its duties to ensure it considered all aspects of the deal, including its impact on the fundamental rights of the people of Western Sahara and who controls the region’s natural resources.

The EU will also hold preplanned talks with Morocco on Monday which include negotiations, launched in 2013, on a deeper and broader trade deal.

See also: Joint Proposal for a COUNCIL DECISION on the Union position within the Association Council set up by the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part, with regard to the adoption of a recommendation on the implementation of the EU-Morocco Action Plan implementing the advanced status (2013-2017)

Opinio Juris, Guest Post: General Court of the European Union annuls the EU-Morocco Free Trade Agreement on Human Rights Grounds but Forgets Self-Determination
by Nadia Bernaz And Elvira Dominguez Redondo

The judgement is important for two main reasons. First, the Court found the case admissible, taking a stance on the issue of the legal personality of Frente Polisario. Second, on the merits, the Court considered that while the Council had wide discretion with regard to the conclusion of agreements with third countries, it should have ensured that the EU was not at the risk of indirectly encouraging human rights violations or benefiting from such violations. The Council’s failure to do so, the Court stated, constituted a manifest error of appreciation which justifies quashing the decision. While the Court avoided basing its decision on the right to self-determination, (it did not evaluate the validity of agreements contrary to customary international law) the decision may nonetheless have important implications for the concern of business with human rights.

Glencore Exclude from KLP Insurance over Western Sahara Oil Exploration
KLP Norway’s largest life insurance company excluded Glencore due to the company’s oil exploration off the coast of Western Sahara. KLP’s conclusion is that this activity constitutes an unacceptable risk of violating fundamental ethical norms. KLP has previously excluded the French oil company Total for similar activities.

The occupation of Western-Sahara has continued for several decades and is in many ways one of the world’s “forgotten” conflicts. Presently, it is difficult to conclude that companies can engage in oil exploration on the continental shelf off the coast of Western Sahara in a manner consistent with international law.

Swedish fishermen to pay fine for Western Sahara fisheries

Two Swedish fishermen are obliged to pay a half a million euro fine for fishing in occupied Western Sahara. Published: 15 December 2015

The Supreme Court of Sweden has decided not to accept the appeal of two Swedish fishermen for illegal fishing in Western Sahara during the years of 2007 and 2008. An eight year long legal process against the fishing group in Dakhla has thus come to an end. The European Court of Justice has also confirmed that the two had been fishing illegal, as it was not done under the EU-Moroccan fisheries partnership agreement.

 International law

Washington,December 09, 2015 (SPS) – The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will undertake support actions to the mediation efforts for the settlement of the conflict in occupied Western Sahara, by paying a visit to the region as from January, announced Tuesday in New York his Special Envoy for Western Sahara Christopher Ross.

Ban Ki-moon tasked me to step up my efforts, said Ross in his briefing to the UN Security Council, adding that to support the process of peace in Western Sahara, Ban Ki-moon plans to visit the region as from January.

During this meeting, Ross underlined the position of UN secretary general on the issue of Western Sahara and which was reiterated in Ban Ki-moon’s declaration made on 4 November 2015.

To remove any ambiguity on this position, Ross reminded of the call launched by Ban Ki-moon to the parties in conflict in occupied Western Sahara (Morocco and Polisario Front) to enter into direct negotiations which should lead to a political solution granting to the Sahrawi people their right to self-determination.(SPS)

Leadership and organization

The Saharawi President, Mohamed Abdaziz, Calls on Electing a New Leadership

8 December 2015, The Saharawi President, Secretary General of the Polisario Front, Mohamed Abdaziz, at an emergency meeting on Monday, has called the National Secretariat for the front to elect a new leadership.

According to sources, Mohamed Abdalaziz, has announced his intention to leave power from Fourteenth Congress onward, calling for the election of a new leadership that truly represents the Saharawi people , a leadership that works to realize their hopes and aspirations.

In August, the 13th 2015, during the 12th session of the National Secretariat of the Polisario front, Mr. President called emphasized the need to elect new leadership, including the new secretary general for the Polisario Front.

The Secretary General of the Polisario’s comments is a step towards a new start and a chance for the good practice of Democracy in its solid and concrete form, not to forget that Mr. President, Mohamed Abdalaziz has sacrificed his entire life in the work of realizing a free Western Sahara for the Saharawis.

Algeria: Some 2,475 Delegates At 14th Polisario Front Congress

14 December 2015, Algiers — Some 2,475 delegates will take part in the 14th Congress of the Polisario Front (December 16-20) in the province of Dakhla (Saharawi refugee camp), according to the Saharawi ambassador to Algiers, Brahim Ghali.

The congress will be held under the slogan, “Strength, Planning and Willpower to Impose National Independence and Sovereignty.”

National Secretariat holds extraordinary session before the 14 Polisario Front Congress
08 December 2015 –

National Secretariat of the Polisario Front held on Monday an extraordinary session under the chairmanship of President of the Republic , Secretary General of the Polisario Front, Mr. Mohamed Abdelaziz, where it discussed the conclusions  presented by the National Preparatory Committee of the Fourteenth Congress about its work ,and a number of documents presented to it including the programme of national action, basic law of Polisario Front, and the constitution of Republic as well as  the draft of the narrative report of NS to be submitted to the Congress.

National Secretariat praised the efforts of the National Preparatory Committee of the 14 Congress and expressed with satisfaction the results registered during stages of preparation characterized by comprehensive popular participation, spirit of seriousness, responsibility and insist on the completion of the stages of this National Merit, despite the recent heavy rains and flood that hit the Sahrawi Refugee Camps.

 

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