Moroccan king's holding most affected by ECJ Ruling
The European Court of Justice has annulled the EU-Morocco trade relations because they included the territory of occupied Western Sahara. The businessman who will be most affected by that ruling turns out to be the Moroccan king.
A story published yesterday in the online Morocco news agency Anayir reveals that the holding 'Les Domaines' will be most affected by the ECJ Ruling. Les Domaines is owned by the King of Morocco. The king's holding owns large plantations and greenhouses in Dakhla, all the way south in Western Sahara, also known as Africa's last colony that has been largely military occupied by Morocco since 1975.
Just like in Morocco proper, the article reads, the farmable land in Dakhla is divided so that the biggest share goes to the royal holding, and the remainder is divided among other companies. In Dakhla, these are mainly French-Moroccan conglomerates. Read up on the tomato barons of Dakhla here.
The king's firm, Les Domaines, is excempt from paying taxes in Morocco because it is registered as a state company.
In 2012, WSRW published the report Label and Liability, going into the implications of the EU-Morocco Free Trade Agreement, looking exactly at the ownership of each plantation in Dakhla. It found that all 11 plantations are either owned by the King himself, or by large French/Moroccan companies. No Saharawis own plantations, and large settlement programmes were made to house all those Moroccan seasonal workers moving in to the territory.
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.