The Sahrawi group protested in front of Thor Omega, a Faroe Islands owned supply vessel that works for the Norwegian seismic survey company Fugro-Geoteam in Western Sahara. The vessel had docked at the harbour only few hours earlier, and visited the port briefly to load cargo, as the Sahrawis rushed down to the harbour to protest.
“Don’t steal our natural resources” shouted the protestors to the employees on board the vessel. They also demanded that Canary ports are not used as base for plundering of Western Sahara.
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The companies involved in the Moroccan oil search in occupied Western Sahara have to this day refused to answer any question from Sahrawis, from the Western Sahara liberation movement or from Western Sahara Resource Watch.
The Norwegian-Faroese companies can make it impossible for the Sahrawis to have their legitimate independence. If Morocco finds oil in Western Sahara, they will probably never accept liberation of the neighbouring country that they occupied in 1975, to the protest of the UN.
“These are crucial days for the Sahrawi people. The entire UN peace process can be jeopardized due to this oil industry. The Sahrawis are extremely frustrated over the lack of response from the international community in the Moroccan oil search in Western Sahara”, said Sergio Ramirez, of Western Sahara Resource Watch.
Ramirez attended the demonstration in Las Palmas, which made the headlines on Faroese national TV last night.
”It is an absolute scandal that the international oil industry is cooperating with an occupying powers military forces in carrying out illegal oil hunt on occupied land. We demand that this project be immediately stopped, and the intervention from Norwegian, Danish and American governments”, said Ramirez.
The company with the exploration licence is Kosmos Energy from Texas. The Norwegian and Faroese companies Fugro-Geoteam and Thor Offshore carry out the seismic surveys.
Thousands of Sahrawi refugees are living on the Canary Islands. There have also been demonstrations in Sahrawi communities in Morocco. See Youtube video.
Yesterday the Norwegian news service Norwatch discovered that Fugro-Geoteam might have received support from the Moroccan navy during the explorations, that are expected to probably finish later this month.
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.