ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN
INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO DENOUNCE THE PLUNDERING OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN WESTERN SAHARA
“Western Sahara is not for sale” (WSNS), is an international campaign against the plundering of natural resources in Western Sahara, promoted by different Saharawi civil society organizations from the occupied territories, the refugee camps and the diaspora.
WSNS arises from the international conference “Sahara Rise” (deida uld Yazid) about non-violent civil resistance, held in the Saharawi refugee camps in February 2018, with the aim of ending the operations of foreign companies and their illegal exploitation of natural resources in occupied Western Sahara.
With this initiative we want to give voice to the Saharawi people, who object to the exploitation of their natural resources, and make visible their suffering in the occupied zones, due to the systematic repression, and in the refugee camps, due to the conditions of exile and refugee status.
Mobilizing the international community and civil society organizations is key to increase the pressure on the Moroccan occupation state, make their expansionist campaign unprofitable (neither economically nor popularly) and cease their illegal occupation of Western Sahara.
ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN
WHO WE ARE?
We are a group of Saharawis who work to end the extraction of the natural resources of Western Sahara and achieve the decolonization of the last colony in Africa. We claim loudly that our people are the sole owners of the natural resources of our lands.
We strongly object to the illegal plundering of the multinationals, who sign contracts and trade agreements with Morocco, which systematically violate human rights and just legitimize their illegal occupation of Western Sahara for more than 45 years.
Our dream is ambitious. Independence is the first stage but we must achieve it through sustainable development, guaranteeing justice, freedom and equality, as well as environmental protection, for all Saharawis and the whole region.
THE PLUNDERING OF
NATURAL RESOURCES AND
THE WESTERN SAHARA
Western Sahara is a non-self governing territory pending decolonisation, rich in natural resources that generates numerous economic benefits for Morocco and dozens of transnational companies. Meanwhile, the Sahrawi people have no guaranteed the right to self-determination and the right to manage and use their own land and resources.
Although international law states that Morocco’s exploitation of natural resources is illegal, it continues financing its illegal occupation of Western Sahara through the exploitation. Numerous transnational corporations in turn, also profit from this situation, contributing to extend the conflict in Western Sahara and perpetuating the occupation.
Meanwhile, the Saharawi people have been denied from its right to self-determination and are forced to live in refugee camps in the Algerian desert or suffer repression by the occupation forces and discrimination in finding work in the occupied territories.
PLUNDER OF NATURAL RESOURCESN
MAIN SECTORS OF EXPLOITATION
The occupied Western Sahara territories have some of the world’s main phosphate reserves, its waters are rich in fishing grounds, and its location offers access to large quantities of sand. It also has a large potential for the development of tourism and renewable energy.
The exploitation of Western Sahara’s natural resources takes place in a context where the cultural, economic and political rights of the Saharawi people are infringed, and which in turn, fuels Morocco’s illegal occupation. Moreover, the richness of its resources and the benefits of its exploitation and export do not revert to the Saharawi people.
A quarter of the renewable energy produced by Morocco and 40% of its solar capacity is obtained from the Occupied Territories of Western Sahara. Much of this energy is used to continue the plundering of Saharawi natural resources.
SAND AND AGGREGATES
Sand is the second most consumed and needed finite natural resource on Earth, after water, and one of the main sectors of plunder in Western Sahara. Sand from Western Sahara is used for construction or to fill in beaches in countries like Spain. 70% of the sand exported by Morocco goes to Spain.
The agricultural sector has had a significant expansion in the Dakhla area since the 2000’s. Agricultural products grown in the Occupied Territories of Western Sahara are imported into Europe labelled as coming from Morocco. Despite the depletion of groundwater reserves around Dakhla, expansion of agricultural land is planned in the coming years.
SECURITY, CERTIFICATION AND ENERGY
Surveillance and security companies are responsible for the protection of infrastructure and the illegal plundering of natural resources in the occupied territories of Western Sahara. Together with the arms industry, they contribute to perpetuate the repression and persecution of the Saharawi population in the Occupied Territories.
EXTRACTIVISM AND MINING: PHOSPHATE
Morocco and Western Sahara have the largest reserves of phosphate rock in the world. Morocco controls one third of the world’s phosphate exports. A large part of it comes from the Occupied Territories of Western Sahara.
In recent years the exportation of fisheries products from Western Sahara is expanding and becoming the main sector of the natural resource plundering of the Occupied Territories. 1 out of 3 “Moroccan” fish processing plants is from Western Sahara. Mainly sardines and octopus are exported. Some of the most important export companies are Spanish.
The Dajla coast is located in the occupied territories of Western Sahara and is part of Morocco’s strategic priorities in the tourism sector. The area is sold as an “eco-friendly” and “sustainable” destination, when in fact it is a territory under illegal occupation by Morocco where fundamental rights are systematically infringed.
PLUNDER OF NATURAL RESOURCES
COMPANIES INVOLVED IN ILLEGAL PLUNDERING OF NATURAL RESOURCES
The richness of Western Sahara in phosphate, fish and sand, traditionally, and in wind, sun and waves in recent years, have led to the installation of dozens of multinational and transnational companies profiting from the exploitation of these resources, often under ambiguous interpretations of international law.
Several international companies have become over the time political actors making profits from Western Sahara’s conflict, and perpetuating the illegal occupation of the territory.
Human rights violations that these companies exercise through the plundering of Western Sahara’s natural resources comes along the violation of the Saharawi people’s right to selfd-detemrination, manage their own resources and exercise sovereignty over their land.
INTERNATIONAL RESOLUTIONS AGAINST THE PLUNDERING
Despite the fact that international law establishes that the e plundering of natural resources by Morocco is illegal, Morocco continues to finance its illegal occupation of Western Sahara through the exploitation of its resources. At the same time, many multinational companies are taking profit from this situation, contributing to perpetuate the conflict in Western Sahara and its occupation.
Successive resolutions of the United Nations, the European Union and the African Union, as well as various judgments on natural resource ownership in the territory, recognize that these are the Saharawi people’s property and that they have the right to control them freely. However, Morocco maintains the trade and the export of goods and products coming from Western Sahara, without consent and without the benefits reaching the Sahrawi people.
UNITED NATIONS RESOLUTIONS AND MINURSO
COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
This body has reaffirmed that Morocco has no sovereignty over Western Sahara and has excluded products from this territory from trade agreements signed with Morocco.
UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE
It points out that it is the Saharawi people who have the right to manage and exploit their natural resources, or to transfer their exploitation to third parties under free, prior and informed consent.
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