In 2009, Western Sahara Resource Watch wrote a story on its webpages regarding the vessel ‘Katina’, transporting phosphate rock from occupied Western Sahara to Uruguay. WSRW had identified the local importer as Nidera Uruguaya, a subsidiary of Dutch oil and grain trading company Nidera.
Nidera has recently clarified to WSRW that the incident was not part of a bigger pattern of imports. The import occurred by the time the company was taking a minor parcel of a bigger vessel. They state they will take the issue “into consideration” if confronted with another need to import to the Latin American country.
“We fully comply with all applicable laws. If our subsidiary in Uruguay again needs to import phosphate rock in the future, the matter which is now brought to our attention is something we shall definitively take into consideration”, stated Nidera’s CSR responsible Aukje Berden to WSRW.
Neither during the years 2007, 2008, 2010 nor 2011 did its Uruguayan subsidiary import phosphate rock at all, according the company. The 2009 total import volume was nearly identical to the ‘Katina’ shipment.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
The military court in Rabat has convicted 25 Saharawi activists to shockingly tough sentences. All were arrested in relation to the Gdeim Izik protest camp; a peaceful manifestation disputing the Saharawi people’s continual marginalisation in their occupied country.
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