Western Sahara is part of Morocco, San Leon states before drilling
Irish/UK oil company San Leon Energy stated to Irish media today that next month's drilling is located in "Moroccan Southern Provices". Only one government in the world labels the occupied territory in similar way: Morocco. Irish lawyers warn of legal steps.
The Independent quoted San Leon with the following:
"San Leon's operations are in keeping with our obligations under international law and work for the betterment of all persons in the Southern Provinces of Morocco. [..] Our operations in the Southern Provinces are in line with fundamental ethical norms, and actions to inhibit them are not merely incorrect but work counter to the interests of the local population and against the final resolution of conflict. [..] The well we are now seeking to drill will ultimately determine if there are commercial quantities of hydrocarbon resources in the area. [..] To object to our operations here, as some do, on the basis that they may further the interests of the government of Morocco is tantamount to objecting to the building of roads because tanks may drive on them - so may school buses, and goods vehicles, and ambulances," he said.
According to Irish Independent, the Irish organisation of lawers Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), told will take legal action against the company over the plan.
"The right of a people to choose how or even whether to use their natural resources is one of the cornerstones of international human rights law", GLAN stated.
San Leon Energy has to WSRW's knowledge never responded to letters of concern from civil society. On only one occasion in the past has the company made comments to the media over the controversy: In an interview with Irish TV station RTE in 2011, a company representative stated it does not need to pay attention to the Saharawis, as "they are not representative".
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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