Mr. Ban Ki-moon
New York, NY 10017
Brussels, April 27th, 2015,
In a few days, the United Nations Security Council will examine your report (S/2015/246) on the situation regarding Western Sahara and decide on the opportunity to renew the MINURSO mission mandate until 30th April 2016.
The situation in Western Sahara is a cause of particular concern for the European Union, especially in light of the challenging circumstances currently witnessed in the Sahel region.
As members of the European Parliament, we closely monitor the developments in Western Sahara and commend the tireless efforts of your High Representative to find a peaceful and negotiated solution to this 40 years long conflict.
We fully support your report’s recommendations and equally salute the efforts made by the Kingdom of Morocco, as part of the ambitious reform programme deriving from the 2011 Constitution, to strengthen the protection of human rights in the region, including through the opening of National Human Rights Council offices in Laayoune and Dakhla; the adoption of the new Code on Military Justice and accession to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. These progresses were equally saluted by the European Union on the occasion of the December 2014 EU-Morocco Association Council as well as in the 2014 report examining progresses made by Morocco in implementing its commitments as part of the EU-Morocco Association Agreement.
As expressed to our Moroccan interlocutors on various occasions, we very much encourage Morocco to pursue and accelerate this path of reforms and will continue to assist the Moroccan authorities in this endeavour. We equally call upon all other parties to live up to their responsibilities to find a negotiated solution to a conflict that inflicts severe humanitarian strains on the population of the Tindouf camps and their families.
In this respect, we share the concerns expressed in your report regarding the distressing conditions in which these refuges live. We are convinced that the first necessary step in addressing their plight is to carry out the long overdue census of the camps populations. It is especially important at a time when the EU and all other major international humanitarian aid donors are confronted to an unprecedented number of humanitarian crises around the world, putting an unbearable strain on their humanitarian aid budgets. This situation is forcing the EU to proceed to a difficult arbitration among its humanitarian assistance priorities. As elected officials, it is our duty to ensure that our aid is proportionate to needs in the camps while benefiting refugees in full. The embezzlement of EU humanitarian aid assistance to the Tindouf refugee camps recently uncovered by the European Anti-Fraud Office is a grave cause of concerns, which, in a situation of generalized budgetary austerity, can hardly be justified to European taxpayers. The Olaf investigation was completed in 2007. This investigation uncovered serious, substantial and long lasting embezzlements of EU Humanitarian Aid funds allocated to the Tindouf refugee camps. Among other findings, the report finds that absence of a registration of the Tindouf camp population, for decades, constitutes the single most determinant factor which has rendered the aid embezzlement possible. In doing so, it echoes the concerns previously expressed by the UN.
We therefore urge the UN Security Council to support your report recommendation for a 12 months extension of the MINURSO mandate under the same terms and conditions as the one it operated by in 2015 and to request that all parties to the conflict make it possible for a census of the Tindouf camps population to be carried out with no further delays.
Gilles PARGNEAUX (S&D/France)
Ingeborg GRÄSSLE (PPE/Germany/Chair of the budgetary control committee)
Ioan Mircea PASCU (S&D/Romania/Vice-president of the European Parliament)
Ana FOTYGA (ECR/Poland/Chair of the Security and Defense subcommittee)
Cristian Dan PREDA (PPE/Romania/Foreign affairs coordinator)
Rachida DATI (MEP/PPE/France)
Robert ROCHEFORT (ALDE/France)
Frédérique RIES (ALDE/Belgique)
Emilian PAVEL (S&D/Romania)
Siôn SIMON (S&D/United Kingdom)
 Council of the European Union, 16443/14/M1 21; 15 December 2014
 Mise en oeuvre de la politique européenne de voisinage au Maroc. Progrès réalisés en 2014 et actions à mettre à œuvre, SWD (2015) 70 final
 UNHCR Inspector General’s Office, Inquiry Report INQ/04/005, Geneva, 12 May 2005.