dilluns, d’abril 16, 2007

Línies a la sorra: Protegint els drets humans i els recursos naturals al Sàhara Occidental

Article extret del blog de RAÜL ROMEVA: http://blocs.mesvilaweb.cat/bloc/6284

En un moment especialment important pel què fa al futur del Sàhara Occidental, l'intergrup Pau pel Poble Saharaui del Parlament Europeu hem organitzat per demà a Brussel.les una conferència (audiència) per tal d'abordar dos aspectes: la qüestió dels recursos naturals (especialment la pesca), i la situació dels drets humans. “Línies a la sorra: Protegint els drets humans i els recursos naturals al Sàhara Occidental”, i té per objectiu crear un debat ric des de les diferents perspectives presents a la conferència que permeti posar en comú línies estratègiques per al paper que ha de jugar la UE en la solució del conflicte, garantint la protecció dels Drets Humans i els recursos naturals del Sàhara Occidental. (segueix…)
La conferència comptarà amb la següent estructura:
9.30 - 10.45 Hs: Panel on natural resources
Chair: MEP Åsa Westlund
· Prof. Jaume Saura-Estapa, University of Barcelone
· Cecilia Malmström, Minister for European Affairs, Sweden
· Representative of the European Commission
11.15 - 12.30 Hs: Panel on Human rights
Chair: MEP Raül Romeva
· Ali Lmrabet, Morroccon journalist
· Lars Björk, Swedish journalist
· Representative of a Human Rights NGO
· Representative of the European Council
A més a més, adjunto també una nota sobre la situació de la pesca en el marc de l'Acord UE-Marroc, aixó com de les accions dutes a terme pel nostre grup, Verds/ALE, al respecte:
Note on the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement and the Inclusion of theWestern Sahara.
The new EU-Morocco fisheries partnership agreement has recently been ratified byMorocco and has now entered into force. It is the first agreement since 1999 and will run for a period of four years. Its adoption by the EU elicited a certain amount of controversy, especially in the Parliament and, to a lesser extent, the Council, and this note will provide a brief summary of what happened.
1. Parliament
Interestingly, this is not the first time that theWestern Sahara (WS) question has come up in the European Parliament in the context of an agreement. During the discussions of the agreement in 1992, the Development Committee noted the legal and other problems with the WS and called upon the Council and Commission to ensure that Morocco did not include the waters of the WS in the agreement until such time as the UN-supervised process of self-determination was concluded.
In 2006, when the new agreement was negotiated, discussions were lively in all three committees which considered the agreement.
Development Committee - Green MEPs asked for an opinion from the Parliament Legal Service on the legality of including WS waters in the agreement. That opinion was more nuanced than the legal opinions from Council or the Commission (see below), and concluded that the agreement as it stands is not against international law - rather, it depends on how Morocco implements the agreement with respect to its obligations to the people of Western Sahara. The opinion noted that there is a committee included in the agreement to monitor the implementation of the agreement and that this could be used to pressureMorocco or even to suspend the agreement (emphasis added). Nonetheless, a Green MEP (Aubert) tabled amendments in the Development Committee to specifically exclude the waters of the WS from the agreement (similar amendment was tabled by a PPE MEP, Wijkman). The Committee voted 12-12 on these amendments so they fell (PPE and ELDR against, others support).
Budgets Committee - Here the rapporteur was a Green (Trupel) and she used the opportunity to argue against the inclusion of the WS in the agreement and included the same two amendments as in the Development Committee. The text of the report is appended to this note. The amendments were defeated (but received support from some PSE and UEN MEPs) so the whole opinion fell.
Fisheries Committee - The rapporteur in Fisheries was a Spanish PPE (Varela) who, in his report, raised the WS issue. He concluded that it was up to the administering power (Morocco) to ensure that international law was upheld and that the economic benefits from fishing in WS waters should accrue to the people living in the territory. Several MEPs tabled amendments to exclude WS waters, including Green (same as in Development and Budgets Committees), GUE and PSE MEPs. They all fell, while softer amendments by ELDR were adopted - they essentially said that the agreement must be implemented "in accordance with international law".
Plenary - Green and GUE retabled their amendments in plenary, but they were defeated by about 190 for, 380 against, 65 abstentions. Consequently, the final vote was 409 for, 167 against, 79 abstentions. That is approximately double the number of MEPs who usually vote against fisheries agreements.
2. Council
Discussions apparently followed a similar trend as in Parliament, with similar legal concerns being raised. The Council's working group was given a technical note by the Commission and a legal opinion by the Council's own Legal Service. Both concluded that including the WS was perfectly legal, as nothing in the agreement would preventMorocco from living up to its international obligations (though no mention was made of the EU's legal obligations). Initially, the Member States which expressed the most serious objections were Sweden, UK, Finland, and Germany, and there was even talk at one point about a blocking minority in Council unless it were clearly specified that the WS was not included. Things then settled down, though four MS continued to argue in favour of a declaration (Sweden, Ireland, Finland and theNetherlands) to the effect that the agreement does not prejudice the EU's views on the dispute over the WS.
3. Commission
The Commission has been very reluctant to discuss the inclusion of the WS in the agreement. In public fora, they maintain that it is entirely up to Morocco to decide whether the licences issues to EU vessels to fish under the EU-Morocco agreement may be used to fish in WS or not, that it is none of the EU's business. They do everything they can to avoid having to specify whether or not EU vessels operate in WS or not. For instance, two Green MEPs (Romeva, Lucas) have asked a series of written questions to get data on catches in the WS. The Commission refuses to answer the question directly, even to the point of saying that normal legal obligations do not apply to theMorocco agreement! The series of questions and non-answers is also appended to this note.
(autor informe, Michael Earle, Fisheries Advisor Greens in the European Parliament, 13 April 2007