From what WSRW understands, Total’s new licence in Western Sahara was signed exactly one year ago. This opens for a renewal already this week, first week of December 2012. WSRW urges Total’s investors to engage immediately.
According to information WSRW received, Total’s massive block offshore Western Sahara was signed on 6 December 2011. WSRW revealed 29 November 2012 that Total is back in Western Sahara, working on behalf of the Moroccan government, which occupies parts of the territory.
The agreement is most probably a reconnaissance agreement – the same kind of agreement that the company held in the same area in the period 2001-2004. It is said that the agreement is valid for a period of 12 months.
This means that the newly discovered agreement will expire in three days from now - Thursday 6 December 2012. Total needs, in other words to assess this week, whether it will let the agreement expire without renewing (as they did in 2004), if they will prolong the agreement, or if they will upgrade it to a full exploration licence.
“Western Sahara Resource Watch calls on all owners of Total to immediately bring this issue with Total's management. They should request both a guarantee that no further exploration activity take place in occupied Western Sahara, and an explanation as to how this could happen in the first place”, stated Erik Hagen, chair of Western Sahara Resource Watch.
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.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the three different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.