In 2008, the Swedish tour operator Ving, which sells trips to Morocco, had by mistake introduced a piece of Moroccan propaganda on its homepages.
The operator refered to the occupation of Western Sahara as a peaceful event.
"1975, 350 000 Moroccans marched towards the then called Spanish Sahara to peacefully include this part of the desert with Morocco. They considered this being formerly part of Morocco", Ving wrote.
See the original homepage to the right (click to enlarge).
The information was presented on an overview of the Moroccan national holidays, as part of its Morocco travel guide.
6th of November is such a a holiday in Morocco, despite the fact that it marks the day when Morocco violated international law and the opinion by the International Court of Justice, by entering Western Sahara. The occupation was brutal. Morocco bombed the indigenous Sahrawi settlements with napalm and white phosphorous, leading to a mass exodus of the population. A majority of the Sahrawi people fled their homeland.
After the Swedish Network for a free Western Sahara made the tour operator aware of the mistake, Ving then removed the peaceful reference from their pages. (Corrected version to the right).
The sentence about the so-called Green March was altered, by just stating that an event with such a name took place, but without giving more information.
"We are very happy about Ving's decision to remove the mistake from their homepages", said Kristin Ivarsson of the Swedish Network for a free Western Sahara.
"But we would appreciate if they would inform their customers about the occupation. We have visited several of Ving's bureaus in Stockholm. All the answers we got is that Morocco is a stable and secure country. We got no information that Morocco brutally occupies Western Sahara. Ving's customers deserve to get this basic information", said Ivarsson.
After first being altered, now all information relating to national holidays in Morocco have lately been removed in its entirety from Ving's homepages.
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.
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