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EU consumers unwittingly supporters of Western Sahara occupation

04/07/2012
One of the many empty towns built in Western S...

One of the many empty towns built in Western Sahara by Morocco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Western Sahara Resource Watch and Emmaus Stockholm

18 June 2012,
For immediate release

On July 1, a new agricultural agreement between the EU and Morocco is expected to enter into force. Its vague territorial scope will allow greater volumes of fresh produce from occupied Western Sahara to enter the EU market.

A new report from Western Sahara Resource Watch launched today documents how produce from the controversial agro-industry in the occupied territory, ends up in the baskets of unaware EU customers. The products are made on plantations owned by the Moroccan King or French-Moroccan conglomerates.

“The income and the employment that these rich lands generate only benefit the occupying power. It directly undermines the UN efforts to solve the conflict”, stated Sara Eyckmans of Western Sahara Resource Watch.

The report, ‘Label and Liability’, reveals furthermore how the industry is blooming under a systematic false country origin reporting, which leaves the customers in the dark.

“There is a systematic mislabelling of tomatoes from the occupied territories in EU supermarkets. This is in direct violation of a key EU directive which gives the consumers the right to be properly informed on the country of origin of the products”, stated Eyckmans.

In addition, the entire trade seems unquestioned by the EU. The products are certified locally as “Moroccan” in the occupied territories by the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture. These offices are remarkably approved by the EU. Through the practice, the EU has a completely different approach to the produce from Western Sahara than on the same vegetable production by Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

The report also names which vegetable labels that the consumers should be careful of purchasing in local stores.

“As its new trade agreement with Morocco is entering into force, the EU must immediately stop the imports of agricultural products from the occupied territory”, stated Eyckmans.

The report is published by the international organisation Western Sahara Resource Watch together with Emmaus Stockholm from Sweden, and can be downloaded here.

Contact:
Erik Hagen, Western Sahara Resource Watch, Oslo, Tel +47 45265619, info@vest-sahara.no
Sara Eyckmans, Western Sahara Resource Watch, Brussels, Tel +32 475458695,coordinator@wsrw.org
»EU consumers unwittingly supporters of Western Sahara occupation

»Western Sahara fishing: Morocco plays hide and seek with EU – wsrw.org

The French Member of the European Parliament Jose Bové, of the Green ones, led the opposition to the text in the parliamentary commission. After losing the voting, it alerted that if in the plenary session the correlation of forces is repeated, familiar agriculture to both sides of the Mediterranean will receive a hard blow. In addition, the Member of the European Parliament notices that there are doubts on the legality in an agreement that does not follow the example of the United States, that has explicitly excluded the territories from the Western Sahara in the agreement which they have signed with Morocco.

The entrance in force of the agreement is seen with fear by the Spanish agricultural sector, that it notices of a strong slope of prices that does impossible to compete with the Moroccan production. The affected product more will be the tomato Andalusian, Murcian and canary, who with a reduced tariff could put in danger to thousands of producers.
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