Stop the UK government plundering Western Sahara

by Western Sahara Campaign UK

Stop the UK government plundering Western Sahara

by Western Sahara Campaign UK
Western Sahara Campaign UK
Case Owner
WSC supports the people of the Western Sahara. We are challenging the UK government's exploitation of their resources.
25
days to go
£5,875
pledged of £18,000 stretch target from 110 pledges
Pledge now
Western Sahara Campaign UK
Case Owner
WSC supports the people of the Western Sahara. We are challenging the UK government's exploitation of their resources.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: Sept. 12, 2022

Just days left to pledge support before we go to court

We finally get to court on October 4. We finally get to hold the UK government to account for its sanctioning and promotion of the plundering of the Western Sahara, the impoverishment and disenfranch…

Read more

This month the Western Sahara Campaign (WSCUK) goes before a judge to stand in solidarity with the Saharawi and defend their rights against the UK government. We believe our case is strong and that we should be granted a judicial review. Our excellent lawyers at Leigh Day are working on a no win no fee agreement. We are asking the court to grant us an order capping our potential liability for the government's costs . But that cap will still be a daunting sum for a small organisation standing against the might of the UK government. The risk is that the Saharawis are priced out of justice. 

Here’s the background. This will be the first legal challenge against a UK post Brexit trade agreement. In its rush to put trade agreements in place post-Brexit, the UK government signed a deal with Morocco. That deal, mirroring an EU-Morocco agreement that is currently before the courts in Europe, extends preferential access to UK markets for goods originating from the Western Sahara. That means anything from phosphates from the mines at Bou Craa, to tomatoes grown by settlers in Dakhla, or fish landed at Laayoune Port. The agreement was not debated in Parliament but slipped through using a statutory instrument. To add insult to injury, the agreement came into effect on 1 January, weeks after the situation in the Western Sahara had deteriorated so far that armed conflict had resumed along the length of Morocco’s defensive wall and Rabat had redoubled its repression of civil rights activists in the occupied territory.

The crux of our case is that the Western Sahara is a non-self-governing territory under international law. In such circumstances, its resources may only be exploited with the agreement of the people of Western Sahara. At no point has the UK government (or the EU) sought, let alone won the assent of the Saharawis to having their resources exploited by Moroccan and other foreign companies and sold into international markets.

If this all sounds familiar, it’s because we have been here before. In 2015, WSCUK won rulings in the European Court  of Justice and in the High Court of England and Wales that Western Saharan produce could not be included in an EU-Morocco trade agreement without the consent of the Saharawis. It is those rulings that the UK government is trying to circumvent. 

We are asking for donations to help us meet the cost cap and pursue a judicial review to ensure the UK government’s trade deal with Morocco is not at the expense of the rights of the Saharawi people. Our appeal is to friends of the Saharawis and to everyone who believes justice should be available to all. We need £5,000 at this first stage.

Perhaps Whitehall thinks we can’t raise the funds to take on the government’s lawyers a second time. With your support, we can. Without it, another injustice will be done to the exiled and occupied people of the Western Sahara.

Thank you for your support.

For more background and information about the Western Sahara Campaign.




Update 5

Western Sahara Campaign UK

Sept. 12, 2022

Just days left to pledge support before we go to court

We finally get to court on October 4. We finally get to hold the UK government to account for its sanctioning and promotion of the plundering of the Western Sahara, the impoverishment and disenfranchisement of its people. We aim to block the UK-Morocco trade agreement. Our legal case is strong.

We are few. We are under-resourced. We need your contributions to fund this unequal battle against corporate greed, UK government cynicism and Moroccan occupation.

Update 4

Western Sahara Campaign UK

May 30, 2022

We've got a court date

We now have a date for our case. It will be heard at the beginning of October. We had hoped it would be earlier but Covid struck and that has pushed it back. This gives more time for supporters of the Saharawis and all opponents of neo-colonial trade deals to show their solidarity by contributing to the work of the Western Sahara Campaign. We are battling to stop UK government complicity in the theft of resources from the Saharawis. Please consider contributing to our costs.

Update 3

Western Sahara Campaign UK

April 26, 2022

Don't let the Saharawis be priced out of justice!

Our case against the UK government will be heard because people like you pledged over £5,000 towards the cost cap determined by the court. Without these contributions, the Western Sahara Campaign (WSC) would not have been permitted to proceed with its case that granting trade preferences for goods taken from Western Sahara without the permission of the people of the territory is illegal.

But we now need more assistance. The court has capped our potential costs at £22,000, a huge sum for a small organisation. On top of that, we are faced with costs for court fees and translation work amounting to £4,500.

Our case is strong and it is being watched by the people of the Western Sahara. This week, Saharawi civil rights organisations, operating under Moroccan military occupation, issued a message of support for our case. They say: “We call on all people of goodwill to join us in backing WSC UK’s legal action against the UK government.” They insist “the permission of our people under occupation and in exile has been neither sought by nor granted to the UK government. The exploitation of these resources only serves the interests of the Moroccan occupation and to grant trade preferences to goods produced under occupation makes the UK complicit in our suffering.”

While it has no direct bearing on WSC’s case, we take encouragement from a recent European Court ruling that found the European Union’s trade deal with Morocco, which the UK deal mirrors, was illegal.

Our cause is just. Our case is strong. Please help us prevent UK complicity in the Moroccan occupation and exploitation of Western Sahara.

Update 2

Western Sahara Campaign UK

April 22, 2022

Don't let the Saharawis be priced out of justice!

Our case against the UK government will be heard because people like you pledged over £5,000 towards the cost cap determined by the court. Without these contributions, the Western Sahara Campaign (WSC) would not have been permitted to proceed with its case that granting trade preferences for goods taken from the Western Sahara without the permission of the people of the territory is illegal.

But we now need more assistance. The court has capped our potential costs at £22,000, a huge sum for a small organisation. On top of that, we are faced with costs for translation work amounting to around £4,000.

Our case is strong and it is being watched by the people of the Western Sahara. This week, Saharawi civil rights organisations, operating under Moroccan military occupation, issued a message of support for our case. They say: “We call on all people of goodwill to join us in backing WSC UK’s legal action against the UK government.” They insist “the permission of our people under occupation and in exile has been neither sought by nor granted to the UK government. The exploitation of these resources only serves the interests of the Moroccan occupation and to grant trade preferences to goods produced under occupation makes the UK complicit in our suffering.”

While it has no direct bearing on WSC’s case, we take encouragement from a recent European Court ruling that found the European Union’s trade deal with Morocco, which the UK deal mirrors, was illegal.

Our cause is just. Our case is strong. Please help us prevent UK complicity in the Moroccan occupation and exploitation of the Western Sahara


Update 1

Western Sahara Campaign UK

Sept. 10, 2021

We've been granted a Judicial Review

A sincere thank you to everyone who contributed, helping us to exceed our target of £5,000. And we have more good news. Our application for Judicial Review has been granted. That means we have taken a giant first step towards preventing the UK government from the active collaboration in the theft of Saharawi resources that stems from its trade deal with Morocco. There is much work to be done between now and Spring next year when our case will be heard but rest assured that our excellent legal team, with WSC's assistance, will be doing everything possible to right this injustice. Watch out for more news. And, again, thank you for your vital support. 

    There are no public comments on this case page.