As the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's starts a tour of North Africa and Incitec Pivot holds an extraordinary General Meeting in Melbourne, the Australia Western Sahara Association, would like to draw attention to Western Sahara, the unresolved issue that affects the North African region.
Western Sahara in north west Africa has been illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975. Unless the occupation ends and the Saharawis are given a chance to decide their own future there will be no stability, peace or progress in north west Africa, an important region given its proximity to Europe and its abundance in natural resources, including phosphate .
Australian companies such as Incitec Pivot have been illegally exploiting Western Sahara’s phosphate for over 20 years.
Trading with Morocco in the phosphate that rightfully belongs to Western Sahara is harming Saharawis living under Moroccan rule and those in refugee camps in south west Algeria. It is giving comfort to Morocco’s brutal regime, which is condemned by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and many other human rights organizations
Three Australian companies (Incitec Pivot, CSBP and Impact Fertilisers) are hampering the resolution of the conflict in Western Sahara, and the trade is providing Morocco with huge amounts of money for its illegal occupation. The Australian companies are turning a blind eye to the suffering of the Saharawis living under Moroccan occupation and the refugees living in exile in a very harsh desert along the border with Algeria.
“We remain convinced that Australian farmers would not be happy to know the truth behind their superphosphate” said Georgia Vlassopoulos, chair of AWSA (Victoria).
AWSA calls on the Australian government to assume its responsibility and make sure that Australian companies behave legally and ethically in their trading activities.
We also urge the Australian government to contribute to the speedy, fair and just resolution of the Western Sahara question in accordance with UN resolutions .
The Saharawi people are entitled to have their say in what happens in their country. Not only over the exploitation of its natural resources, but more crucially, to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination.
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.