The mail below was sent from Total to WSRW on 14 May 2013. This is Total's response to our concerns over the company not seeking the consent from the Saharawis, and questions about what their future plans in Western Sahara are.
Thank you for your letter dated April 11th and for your acknowledgement that you took good note of our statement posted on “Business and Human rights” on December 14th, 2012.
As far as other questions are concerned, they exceed our domain: Total, as an Energy Company, does not deem itself legitimate to have views on political or diplomatic subjects that belong to the United Nations and that are still being debated within the relevant international institutions.
On the contrary, our position is to abide by the existing international legal framework; while we exert our due diligence to have the best assessment of the environment of our activities, it is not within our scope nor competences to anticipate, frame or dictate which solutions should eventually be chosen.
You will therefore understand my refraining from further answering your questions.
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 five 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.