Saharawis won first round in conflict mineral cargo court case
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A panel of judges in the High Court in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, judged this morning that the cargo on board the vessel NM Cherry Blossom is rightfully detained, and that a trial to determine its ownership is to take place.
Published: 15.06 - 2017 11:58Printer version    
A panel of judges in South Africa ruled today that the detention of NM Cherry Blossom on 1 May 2017 was correct.

The Western Sahara people has thus passed the first hurdle in the legal process to win ownership over a cargo of phosphate rock that Morocco has tried to export from the territory that it holds under occupation.

“The ICJ’s judgement is clear: Morocco has no claim to sovereignty over Western Sahara. Its claim as result of its occupation of the territory is incompatible with the status of Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory. Furthermore, it acquired control of the territory by force. This, as a means of acquiring sovereignty, is contrary to customary international law", the judges stated.

The court decided that the sheriff is "directed and authorised to remove the ship's registration documents and trading certificates" until the case is settled.

OCP, a Moroccan government owned company, has claimed that they have the right to export phosphate rock from the territory of Western Sahara. Numerous investors have divested from global importers exactly because they are of the opposite view. Now these investors have so far the backing of the South African court.

"This is a historic moment for the Saharawi people and we hope the final judgment will contribute to the protection of our natural resources which we need to rebuild our country and provide a dignified life for our people after decades of conflict, exile and suffering", the representative of the liberation movement Polisario in Australia, Kamal Fadel, stated in a comment to Western Sahara Resource Watch.

New Zealand companies claim that they are entitled to import the goods, by falsely representing a UN Legal Counsel document from 2002. The importing company Ballance Agri-Nutrients has systematically misrepresented the UN position by ignoring that the people of Western Sahara must consent to such operations. All questions to Ballance regarding seeking of consent are ignored. Ballance has not responded to the questions from WSRW letters of 2015, 2016 and 2017 of its misrepresentation of UN position.

"OCP and Phosboucraa do not claim to have mined the phosphate in Western Sahara with the consent of the people of the territory. They do not and cannot claim to do so on behalf of its people. Their claim to mine phosphate for the benefit of the people is disputed by the SADR and the PF: as most of the Sahrawi people live to the east of the berm or in refugee camps in Algeria, those who may benefit from the mining of phosphate are not the 'people of the territory' but, more likely, Moroccan settlers", the South African court found.

New Zealand is the second biggest importer of the illegally exported phosphate rock. The New Zealand imports is covered in the WSRW report P for Plunder, published 25 April 2017.



    

Top
News:

18.09 - 2018 / 18.09 - 2018Polisario files legal complaint against French seafood company
13.09 - 2018 / 13.09 - 2018The New Zealand phosphate controversy for dummies
13.09 - 2018 / 13.09 - 2018US imports of Western Sahara conflict rock to end
07.09 - 2018 / 04.09 - 2018Frozen fish flying from occupied Western Sahara to Spain
31.08 - 2018 / 31.08 - 2018European Parliament "fact finding" mission to Western Sahara
21.08 - 2018 / 20.08 - 2018ISOCARD backtracks on moving camel conference out of Western Sahara
20.08 - 2018 / 09.08 - 2018Sweden says EU-Morocco trade proposal fails court ruling
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27.07 - 2018 / 25.07 - 2018Morocco grants only 5% of fishing licences off Dakhla to Saharawis
26.07 - 2018 / 23.07 - 2018EU Court confirms: Western Sahara not part of EU-Morocco fish deal
25.07 - 2018 / 07.07 - 2018Large Russian-Chinese-British oil study in Western Sahara
23.07 - 2018 / 20.07 - 2018EU and Morocco today initial new fish deal including Western Sahara
23.07 - 2018 / 22.07 - 2018Key player quits dirty Western Sahara phosphate game
22.07 - 2018 / 27.08 - 2010Support Western Sahara Resource Watch
19.07 - 2018 / 19.07 - 2018Fishmeal from occupied Western Sahara now being unloaded in Germany
17.07 - 2018 / 17.07 - 2018Caught fishing illegally in occupied Western Sahara
16.07 - 2018 / 16.07 - 2018Polisario condemns Council's approval of Western Sahara trade deal
16.07 - 2018 / 16.07 - 2018EU Council approves Morocco trade deal to include Western Sahara
16.07 - 2018 / 16.07 - 2018EU vessels return home in absense of new EU-Morocco fish deal
06.07 - 2018 / 06.07 - 2018EU Parliament backs self-determination - split on EU Court ruling




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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.
EU Court cases on Western Sahara for dummies

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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.
Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!

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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.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch

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Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.
Report: Moroccan green energy used for plunder

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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.

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