The Moroccan government is managing the natural resources in Western Sahara as if the territory were Moroccan. It is not. No state in the world, nor the UN, recognise the Moroccan sovereignty claims over the territory.
The people of the territory has the right to self-determination over their own land, and the right to, themselves, choose how their resources should be managed.
In Smara, occupied Western Sahara, a demonstration took place on 14 April 2016 calling for that right to be respected, and for the Saharawi people's right to work. One banner reads "Sahara is a rich land, but Saharawis are poor people". Another underlined how the Saharawis are not benefiting from the EUs partnerships with Morocco in the occupied territory.
A 09:23 minute long video has also been made from the demonstration. Download that video here. 03:00 A Saharawi is holding a poster "Sahara phosphate for Saharawis..."
One of the persons who took part in the demonstration told WSRW that the demonstration culminated by police chasing the demonstrators down the side streets of the main avenue.
"Security forces intervened violently. As a result of this, there were many injuries", WSRW was told.
WSRW were given the names of 24 people who were allegedly injured, but has not sought to verify the veracity of the injuries.
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 three 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.