The exiled government of Western Sahara has accused the company of contributing to the theft of natural resources from the indigenous people of the territory, said the ethical watchdog Danwatch. When Morocco took control of the region in the 1970s, a large portion of Western Sahara's indigenous population was driven away and Morocco staked its claim on the territory's most important natural resource, phosphate extracted from mines for fertilizers and other products. A Lauritzen cargo vessel is used in the phosphate shipping, the Copenhagen Post said.
The United Nations condemned the Moroccan occupation and established that any trade with minerals from occupied territories that does not benefit the indigenous peoples of the land is in breach of international legislation.
Jens Ditlev Lauritzen, vice-president of the shipping company, said he saw no ethical responsibility in the matter. He said the vessel was chartered to a Greek shipping company that in turn had leased it to a Korean company.
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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