Clear message from Saharawis: Kosmos, leave Western Sahara!
Yesterday evening, dozens of Saharawis gathered in Zaragoza, Spain, to protest against Kosmos Energy - the American oil company that has announced it will commence to drill for oil in occupied Western Sahara later this year.
The protesters held banners saying "Kosmos, Saharawi people don't want you in our occupied homeland", "Kosmos, get out of Western Sahara", "Cairn fuera del Sahara ocupado", "Kosmos want blood for oil in Western Sahara", etc.
Kosmos Energy want to start drilling in October or November this year. A drill rig to that purpose is expected to arrive in occupied Western Sahara in September. The rig is currently still at anchor in South Korea, where it was built by US company Atwood Oceanics. Kosmos will lease the rig for three years at a rate of 595,000 USD a day. Kosmos' partners in the undertaking are Scotland's Cairn Energy and Morocco's ONHYM (National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mining).
The UN Security Council's legal Counsel produced a legal opinion on oil exploration and exploitation in Western Sahara in 2002. The conclusion was unequivocal: any such activity is in violation of international law if not in accordance to the wishes and the interests of the Saharawi people.
The Saharawi people are clear: "Kosmos, get out of Western Sahara".
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.