The US lawfirm Covington & Burling helps Morocco in the illegal plunder of phosphates from occupied Western Sahara. The Sahrawi student Senia Bachir Abderahman is trying to get answers from the lawfirm as to how they can defend the plunder of her homeland.
Western Sahara Resource Watch has been writing about the Washington based lawfirm Covington & Burling which supports the Moroccan plundering of Western Sahara.
The firm has made an opinion for their Moroccan government client OCP, stating that the phosphate plunder is legal and for the benefit of the local people of Western Sahara.
Senia Bachir-Abderahman is a refugee from occupied Western Sahara, studying in the US. She says that none of her countrymen benefit from the industry.
Senia wants the US lawfirm to explain how the plunder can be beneficial to herself and her people.
WSRW sent a letter to Covington & Burling on 4 November 2008, but the lawfirm has still not been replied.
After Morocco occupied Western Sahara in 1975, they fired most of the Sahrawis working in the phosphate industry, replacing them with Moroccan settlers. Morocco earns up to 2 billion dollars a year from the mine in Western Sahara.
At the same time, a majority of the Sahrawi people suffer in refugee camps in Algeria, after fleeing the Moroccan forces. The entire multilateral aid to the refugee camps corresponds to approximately 2,5 percent of Morocco's income from the mines in the occupied territory.
Covington & Burling's analysis of the industry is used by international phosphate importers to legitimise their imports, claiming it to be legal. The confidential analysis is said to prove that the local people benefit from the industry, but the local people are themselves not allowed to see the opinion.
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.
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