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.
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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. 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 …

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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.




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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. 

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