Ever since Morocco invaded Western Sahara in 1975, OCP took over the management of the territory's phosphate mines at Bou Craa. The UN Security Council's legal department concluded in 2002 that the exploitation and exploration of the mineral reserves of Western Sahara are a violation of international law if not undertaken in accordance with the benefits and the wishes of the Saharawi people - the rightful owners of the resources.
For years, Saharawis have been protesting against the illegal trade in phosphates mined in their occupied homeland. In recent months, an upsurge in protests could be witnessed in the occupied parts of Western Sahara, mainly targeted against OCP. Saharawis are frustrated that jobs created through the exploitation of their resources are overwhelmingly given to Moroccan settlers. They demand their right to employment, and - as banners at protests state -"fair share of our own wealth". The Moroccan regime deals with these protests as it deals with any form of dissent; with brutal force.
For decades, Morocco has sold off Western Sahara's highly lucrative phosphate rock as if it was entitled to do so. The revenues have been poured back into the costly occupation of Western Sahara.
OCP's affairs at the Irish Stock Exchange are managed by Barclays, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan; multinational financial services corporations based in the UK and USA.
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.