The Western Sahara oil curse

Big oil’s interest in occupied Western Sahara has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Some companies are now drilling, in complete disregard of international law and the Saharawi people’s rights. Here’s what you need to know.
Published: 06.11 - 2015 19:35Printer version    
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It is unseen: a country is carrying out a large-scale oil exploration programme outside of its national borders. When that happened last time, under Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor, the activities were widely condemned and universally acknowledged as illegal.

Yet, this is precisely what Morocco is doing now in Western Sahara. But this time, the entire international community looks away.

Western Sahara is often called the last colony of Africa, and the UN treats it as such; as a Non-Self Governing Territory without an administering power in place. The people of Western Sahara, the Saharawis, have an internationally recognised right to self-determination; the right to decide the future status of the land and its resources.

The Saharawis have time and again spoken out against the oil development in their occupied homeland. Their voices are ignored by Morocco, the international community and the oil companies that choose to side with Morocco, who all seem to put profit over people.

Read up on big oil in Western Sahara, and find out what you can do to help put an end this injustice.




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.
EU Court cases on Western Sahara for dummies


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.
Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!


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.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch


Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.
Report: Moroccan green energy used for plunder


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. News Archive 2018 News Archive 2017 News Archive 2016 News Archive 2015 News Archive 2014 News Archive 2013 News Archive 2012 News Archive 2011 News Archive 2010 News Archive 2009 News Archive 2008 News Archive 2007 News Archive 2004-2006

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