According to Saharawi human rights defenders from the occupied territory of Western Sahara, senior military officers that are stationed on the Berm are involved in quartz mining. The Berm is the military fortified wall that Morocco erected during the 80s, which today effectively divides the territory and entire Saharawi families.
Quartz is an abundant mineral in the earth's continental crust, and comes in different varieties. Quartz is one of the most commonly used minerals in the making of jewellery and hard stone carvings. The value of quartz depends on the variety, size, weight and colour.
The quartz dug up in occupied Western Sahara is said to be exported abroad. WSRW cannot confirm that this is indeed the case.
"We want the world to see with their own eyes what is happening in Western Sahara. Morocco is stealing our resources", stated human rights defender, Hammad Hmad, vice president of the Saharawi human rights organisation CODAPSO, in a video.
Morocco's expoliation and trade of Western Sahara's natural resources is taking place in violation of international law, for failing to take into account the wishes and the interests of the Saharawi people as stipulated by a UN legal opinion of 2002. The Saharawis do not benefit from the trade, and those who speak out against it are often the victim of arbitrary arrest, intimidation or imprisonment.
Included below are photos and videos depicting the quartz deposits in occupied Western Sahara.
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.