Joanna and Kristina were on their way to El Aaiun, the capital of occupied Western Sahara, when the bus was pulled over at one of the many checkpoints on the roads to the city. They were asked to step out. According to young women, the police told them that "they are not welcome". The police then drove them to Agadir, in Morocco.
Joanna Allan and Kristina Nygaard had traveled to Western Sahara to study the concerning human rights situation of the Saharawi people and to learn more about the activities of Kosmos Energy and other companies involved in the natural resources exploitation.
"This is just another symptom of the Moroccan-enforced Western media blackout in the occupied territories. Meanwhile, companies such as Kosmos and Cairn Energy continue in their attempts to exploit the misery of the Saharawis", says Joanna Allan, Board Member of WSRW.
Kristina Nygaard, member of the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara, adds: "The complete lack of transparency has made me even more curious as to what is happening in the occupied territories. The deportation only increases my motivation to dig further into this particular conflict."
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.