While the UN hosted peace talks between Morocco and Polisario in the US last week, a large load of illegally excavated Saharawi phosphates was being discharged in Louisiana. The peace talks covered the management of natural resources of occupied Western Sahara. The UN says such trade is in violation of international law, but PotashCorp defends Morocco's claims to the territory.
For decades, the firm has been the single most important financial contributor to the occupation, by purchasing phosphate rock from the territory that Morocco has occupied since 1975. The firm refuses to terminate its import, and has been blacklisted by several European investors for its trade.
Currently, 6 Saharawis are in their second month of hunger strike against the plundering. In a video released last week, one sees them denouncing the Louisiana firm for its involvement.
The UN states that no such activity can be carried out without consulting the Saharawis. Yet, Morocco and PotashCorp have never consulted with the Saharawis. During UN hosted peace talks last week, natural resources management was on the table as Morocco and Polisario met outside New York.
"No trade of phosphates should take place under the current situation. The UN legal opinion on natural resources, and the Saharawi people's right to consultation must be respected - especially now during the peace talks", stated Sara Eyckmans, coordinator of Western Sahara Resource Watch.
"The reason for the deadlock in the UN talks is largely due to the extremely lucrative phosphate trade. Firms like PotashCorp directly contribute to undermine the UN process to decolonise the territory. They make it evidently uninteresting for Morocco to give any concession", stated Eyckmans.
The vessel 'Jia Ho' has still not left Louisiana. She is owned by the Taiwanese shipping company Ta Ho Maritime Corporation, and arrived at the dock of PotashCorp in New Orleans on 3 June 2011. 'Jia Ho' carries a Panaman flag, and is registered with IMO number 9134995.
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.