On 6 September 2014, UK company San Leon Energy bought the 22.5 percent interest on Tarfaya block previously owned by the company PetroMaroc. The news was published on the webpages of San Leon.
The Tarfaya block is located on both sides of the internationally recognised border between Morocco and Western Sahara, including covering the area around the Western Sahara capital city El Aaiun.
The company's partnership with the Moroccan government proceeds on the south side of that border even though it is clearly in violation of international law, as described by the UN legal office. Morocco has illegally occupied this part of Western Sahara since 1975.
The Western Sahara Resource Watch report Platform for Conflict mentions on page 8-9 the overview of blocks in the territory. The reference to Tarfaya block in that report is thus not correct. The correct now is that San Leon owns 75% of the block, ONHYM 25%.
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.
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