10/24/2013 (press release: media1press)
The European Parliament adopted on Tuesday the report on the situation of human rights in the Sahel region.
The report which was presented by MEP Charles Tannock , highlights the need to search for a negotiated political solution to the conflict over the Sahara and “renews call” on the European Union to play “a more active role” in settling this “insurmountable obstacle to complete development of neighborly relations in the Maghreb”.
The report urges for promoting lasting and beneficial socio-economic development and integration projects in order to facilitate the movement of goods, services, capital and people, commending, in this context, the adoption last December of a joint communication by the High Representatives and the European Commission that makes proposals to support the five Maghreb an countries in their efforts for closer cooperation and increase regional integration.
The report underlines the strategic relations between Morocco and the European Union, praising Morocco’s headway and commitment to carry on efforts and resolve to intensify relations with the EU, in the framework of the advanced status, in the perspective of negotiating a “deep, comprehensive, ambitious, balanced and mutually-beneficial” free trade agreement.
The report welcomes efforts to improve the documentation of alleged human rights abuses in Western Sahara, in particular through the Moroccan National Human Rights Council (CNDH) ; notes the positive work of the CNDH; welcomes Morocco’s adoption in 2012 of three of the five UN Human Rights Council recommendations on the human rights situation in Western Sahara.
The report also recognizes Morocco’s leading role in Africa and the Sahel region in fighting terrorism and promoting cooperation for development spurred by the proactive approach adopted by HM King Mohammed VI.
On the other hand, the report expresses concern that the poverty in the Tindouf camps, coupled with the absence of long-term prospects for many refugees, leaves them vulnerable to radicalization along religious fundamentalist lines; points to the danger of young people being recruited by criminal or terrorist organizations and draws attention to the region’s porous borders, which risk facilitating deeper infiltration of the camps by jihadi groups from northern Mali and elsewhere; condemns, in this regard, the kidnapping of three European aid workers from the Rabouni camp in October 2011; stresses, therefore, the paramount importance of ensuring the safety and security of the camps; calls on the Algerian authorities to act upon its responsibility to alleviate the human rights situation in Tindouf camps; expresses full support for the UNHCR programme aimed at fostering confidence-building by facilitating family exchanges between Tindouf and Western Sahara.