DLA Piper sent the below reply-email to WSRW on 6 March 2015. DLA Piper has co-produced a legal opinion for the Moroccan state-owned phosphate company OCP, purportedly stating that OCP's exports of occupied Western Sahara's phosphates is permissible under international law as it accrues benefits to the "local people". Read WSRW's initial letter, asking whether the firm would share its legal opinion with the Saharawi people, here.
REPLY BY DLA PIPER, 6 March 2015
Dear Ms Eyckmans
I refer to your email and letter to Jay Rains and Simon Levine dated 18 February 2015. By way of introduction, I am the firm's General Counsel and Jay and Simon have asked me to respond to you on their behalf.
The opinion referred to in your letter, which we co-authored with Palacio y Asociados, was written for the benefit of Phospates de Boucraa S.A., and its holding company, Office Cherifien des Phosphates S.A. (OCP). It is their property and may only be disclosed to others by them or with their consent. Therefore, we are not in a position to provide you with a copy of the opinion.
Amber Matthews General Counsel/Partner
DLA Piper Australia Level 22 No.1 Martin Place Sydney NSW 2000 GPO Box 4082 Sydney NSW 2001 Australia www.dlapiper.com
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.
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.
Big oil’s interest in occupied Western Sahara has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Some companies are now drilling, in complete disregard of international law and the Saharawi people’s rights. Here’s what you need to know.