Radio New Zealand: NZ fishing company criticised by human rights group
New Zealand's biggest fishing company is being criticised by a European human rights group for operating in disputed waters off Africa. Radio New Zealand, 8th May 2008.
Published: 07.05 - 2008 22:59Printer version    
Radio New Zealand
8th May 2008, 7:19 am

Hear the radio interview - and read the transcript - here.

The Western Saharan Resource Watch human rights group says Sealord owns shares in the company Europacifico, which processes fish caught by a Moroccan company in waters off Western Sahara.

The territory in north-west Africa has been occupied by Morocco for more than 30 years, and is the subject of a decades-long dispute between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front. Morocco's use of the area's resources is controversial.

Western Saharan Resource Watch spokesperson Kamal Fadel says profits from fishing in the area will go Morocco, not the Western Saharan people, and says it is wrong and unethical for a New Zealand company to be involved.

Trade Minister Phil Goff says he has been assured by the Moroccan government that the people of Western Sahara benefit from the use of their resources.

He says there is United Nations agreement allowing the use of Western Saharan resources, as long as its people benefit, and New Zealand takes its direction in the matter from the UN.

New Zealand has supported a United Nations call for a referendum to be held so Western Saharan people can decide their future.


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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.
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