Here are the people Siemens doesn't bother to talk to
Today, refugees from Western Sahara organised a demonstration against the energy companies Siemens and Enel. The two companies refuse to follow UN demands of seeking Saharawi consent as they are building windmills for Morocco on their occupied homeland.
The two companies Siemens and Enel, doing allegedly "sustainable" projects in the occupied territories, fail to seek the people's consent. They are winning tenders for energy production in the occupied territory, in partnership with a company of the Moroccan king, Nareva.
6 November 2016, hundreds of Saharawi refugees living in camps across the border to Algeria protested the two companies' operations. Half the people of Western Sahara has fled the territory following the illegal Moroccan occupation of the former Spanish colony. The demonstration took place in the camp called Smara.
Siemens windmills alone supply 95% of the energy required by Morocco to plunder the non-renewable mineral resources of the land, according to a new WSRW report.
The demonstration was organised by three youth groups based in the refugee camps. The groups call on all attendees of COP22 climate talks in Marrakech these weeks to take the opportunity "to learn about the injustice committed by the Moroccan government" against the Saharawis both in the past as well as regarding the current "sustainable" energy projects, which are seen by many as cementing the occupation.
"The companies that plunder our natural resources, are not only stealing our resources but also steal away our dreams and our future and prolong the displacement of our people. This act favors the Moroccan policy and agenda to destroy the Saharawi People", the statement reads.
Morocco has occupied parts of Western Sahara since 1975.
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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.