The Gallician firm Jealsa operates a processing factory for sardines in the city of El Aaiun in occupied Western Sahara.
Since 2008, WSRW has demanded the halt of the firm's operations in the territory, pointing to the fact that the production and exports take place in the disregard of the wishes and interests of the Saharawi people.
From June 2010 to May 2011, WSRW has carried out several meetings with Jealsa, at their head quarters in Madrid. At one point the firm suggested it could label their products as being from Western Sahara instead of from Morocco.
However, the firm has refused to abandon its operations, and has not engaged in dialogue with the Sahrawi. The labelling change has also not been implemented.
Now, the Sahrawi are starting to lose patience. A new video that WSRW has been forwarded shows Sahrawi youth tagging their factory in El Aaiun.
In April the liberation movement of Western Sahara, Frente Polisario, sent a letter to Jealsa "urging the immediate halt of all operations in Western Sahara", requesting the firm to "withdraw from the territory".
Parallel to the criticism of Jealsa, several Spanish groups have also demanded from their main customer, the Spanish grocery chain Mercadona, to halt its purchases from Jealsa. Mercadona has placed all responsibility on the supplier.
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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