43 EUCOCO – Presentation

The 43rd European Conference of Solidarity and Support for the Sahrawi People (EUCOCO) will take place on 16 and 17 November 2018 in Madrid with the participation of people from all five continents.

The EUCOCO has been organised continuously since 1975, the year of the beginning of the conflict, becoming, without doubt, the most important annual meeting of the European Solidarity Movement with the Sahrawi People.

epresentatives of governments in general, ambassadors of countries that recognise the SADR, European and national representatives and elected officials, autonomous governments, municipal and provincial councils of the Spanish State, political and trade union organisations, friendship associations with the Sahrawi people, NGOs in general, jurists and personalities from the cultural sector… participate every year in this important meeting of solidarity, committed to justice, law and international legality. This year will see an important participation from Africa and Latin America due to the increasingly important role that they are playing in the search for a definitive solution to the conflict.

The recent judgments of the EU Court of Justice establish that Morocco and Western Sahara are separate and distinct territories, and therefore the proposed Fisheries Agreement is not applicable to Western Sahara, nor to the waters adjacent to it, and it is a clear obstacle to the peace process led by the UN and to the negotiations promoted by the Personal Envoy, Horst Köhler. Today, unfortunately the European Union is failing to comply with international legality to the extent that it does not respect the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination and their permanent sovereignty over their natural resources, and even its own court rulings.

For more than 40 years, the Sahrawi people have sustained a persevering resistance against the illegal occupation of their land by the Kingdom of Morocco. A struggle based on the firm will of an entire People that have given proof of dignity and determination to recover their freedom and build a future in peace, coexistence and democracy.

The Spanish State abandoned Western Sahara without completing the process of decolonisation, which was underway, and without respecting the right to self-determination of the Sahrawi people as other peoples of the African continent. In this regard, it resorted to the illegal Madrid Tripartite Agreement, thus facilitating the occupation of the territory. However, without a doubt, our responsibility remains active in the current situation and in accordance with International Law. We cannot forget that this Agreement is invalid, since it is not possible legally to cede the sovereignty of a territory pending decolonisation.

It is necessary that the holding of this EUCOCO in Madrid be an occasion to assume our responsibility as a country and to denounce the failure of the United Nations, the European Union and the international community in general, which, on many occasions, support the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara. It should serve to demand compliance with the judgment of the European Court of Justice regarding the exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara, and to call on all member states of the European Union to engage actively in the search for a just and definitive solution. We think that it can help unblock the current situation and promote all the necessary political initiatives. In this regard, we expect the participation of the different political, social and trade union forces supporting this solution in accordance with International Law, through a new policy that respects the legality and the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination.

The violation of this Right to Self-Determination in Western Sahara has not only thrown the Sahrawi people into a drama of daily and unjust consequences, but it has also caused, for more than four decades, a permanent instability that has jeopardised any attempt to achieve the economic, social and political development, which is so desired and necessary, in the Maghreb region.

Hoping to count on your presence amongst us, we remain available for any clarification that you may need or to explain to you personally in a meeting all that which you consider appropriate.