What is HeidelbergCement doing in occupied Western Sahara?
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The German multinational cement giant HeidelbergCement owns a cement factory in Western Sahara. WSRW enquires about who gave the company permission to operate in the occupied territory.
Published: 02.03 - 2018 10:14Printer version    
Above: HeidelbergCement's plant in occupied Western Sahara. Photo: Mohamed Dchira.

A few kilometers outside of the capital city of Western Sahara, a subsidiary of HeidelbergCement is operating a cement production plant. The factory is owned by Ciments du Maroc (CIMAR), which in turn is part of the German multinational via an Italian subsidiary, Italcementi.

Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) on 1 March 2018 sent a letter to HeidelbergCement, enquiring about whether it had obtained consent from the representative of the people of Western Sahara to operate in the occupied territory. WSRW also asked questions regarding the company's clients and policies.

WSRW already on 20 October 2016, 19 February 2017 and 5 December 2017 contacted HeidelbergCement's subsidiary Italcementi, which is in charge of the operation. No response was received. WSRW also sent a letter to Italcementi's former subsidiary Italgen on 19 October 2016, without obtaining a response. Italgen has built the energy infrastructure associated to the CIMAR factory, opened in 2011 by the secretary-general of the Moroccan Ministry of Mines.

HeidelbergCement and its subsidiaries systematically place the El Aain cement factory in the wrong country. See website of HeidelbergCement itself [or download] or on CIMAR's website [or download].

The company even locates the capital city of Western Sahara in the "Southern Provinces" or the "provinces Sahariennes" which is Morocco's narrative of describing the territory it holds under illegal occupation.

On all maps on HeidelbergCement's website, Western Sahara is illustrated as being part of Morocco. No country in the world, nor the UN, consider Western Sahara as part of Morocco. The Court of Justice of the EU in a ruling on 21 December 2016 clarified the status of the territories of Morocco and Western Sahara to be "distinct and separate". The Advocate General of the court on 10 January 2018 elaborated further on the status of Morocco in the territory as an occupying power, underlining that international humanitarian law applies.

The illustrations below are from the latest annual report of Ciments du Maroc of 2016 (page 7 and 23).


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Download other high resolution images of CIMAR here (shall be credited Mohamed Dchira)
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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.
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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.

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