OCP is the Moroccan state phosphate company that exploits the phosphate reserves in occupied Western Sahara. No state recognises Morocco's claims to the territory, and the exploitation takes place in the disregard of the wishes and interests of the people of Western Sahara.
The Moroccan state company and its clients internationally has claimed that the activities are lawful since they are to the benefit of the people of Western Sahara. They all claim this by pointing to an "expert opinion" written by their US law firm Covington & Burling. However, the opinion claiming how good it is for the Saharawis, has, ironically, always been confidential - and never shared with the Saharawis themselves.
In 2009, Senia Bachir Abderahman, a Saharawi student in the US, looked up Covington & Burling's headquarter in Washington, DC, to get a copy of the secret opinion.
"I am here to try and find out how beneficial it is to the Saharawi people. I am a Saharawi myself and I just don't understand how on earth it can be beneficial and legal to steal phosphate from an occupied country", Abderahman states in the video. She is herself a refugee from Western Sahara.
But now, OCP tries to stop the video from being aired on Youtube.
"We have disabled the following material as a result of a third-party notification from Audio Soundtracks claiming that this material is infringing", Youtube noted following the OCP complaint. The details posted to the owners of the video reveals that the claimant is "OCP Maroc". See image to the right.
Western Sahara Resource Watch knows of at least three different Youtube videos that have been tried stopped by an entity called "OCP Maroc" on 18 September 2013. Abderahman's two videos were among them.
After OCP Maroc tried to stop the videos, Abderahman has mailed both the office of the Director-General, as well as the Marketing Director of OCP asking if the information about OCP Maroc trying to block her films from Youtube is correct. Abderahman at the same time has asked OCP to send a copy of the Covington & Burling "expert opinion", as well as related opinions written for OCP by DLA Piper and KPMG. The requests have not been responded to.
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.