Police refused these Saharawis access to "green" energy brief

Moroccan police today barred Saharawis from attending a "public consultation" organised by ACWA Power, contracted to construct the first solar plants in occupied Western Sahara.
Published: 30.11 - 2016 21:18Printer version    
"Moroccan plain-clothed police stopped us two streets away from the Al Massira hotel", says Mohamed, an activist of the coordination of families of Saharawi former Phosboucraa workers, and one of the Saharawis who had hoped to attend today's consultation meeting. "Many Saharawis wanted to attend, but we were all stopped. At least 15 people were stopped together with me".

Today's consultation meeting at the Al Massira is part of ACWA Power's social and environmental impact assessment. ACWA Power, a Saudi engineering company, was hired by the Moroccan Agency for Solar Power (MASEN) three weeks ago to develop 170 MW of solar capacity at three sites; Ouerzazate, El Aaiun and Boujdour. But the latter two are located outside of Morocco, and inside of Western Sahara,  a Non-Self-Governing Territory that is largely under Moroccan military occupation since 1975. And the people of Western Sahara, either living as refugees in Algerian desert camps or under Morocco's iron fist, do not agree to their resources being exploited by the occupying regime.

"I wonder who they are consulting, if we - the Saharawis - are not allowed in the room", Mohamed says, touching upon the very core of the problem.

newspaper_noor_17.11.2016_280.jpgA UN Legal Opinion of 2002 is clear that the "wishes and the interests" of the Saharawi people are two essential requirements for any resource-related activity to be considered permitted under international law. The Saharawis have an internationally recognised right to self-determination; the right to determine the status of their land, and thus of its resources. The author of the UN Legal Opinion, the then UN Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs, Hans Corell, has just recently stated that the "wishes and interests" criterion also applies to renewable resources.

WSRW is not aware of any Saharawi group having been contacted prior to the issuing of the contract to ACWA, nor any group having been invited to the hearing. A small notice (picture to the right) was published in a Moroccan newspaper on 17 November 2016. The notice or invitation seems not to be found anywhere online.

ACWA Power has hired 5 capitals, a Dubai-based consultancy firm, and Phénixa, a Moroccan consultancy firm, to under take its social and environmental impact assessment. As far as WSRW can tell, there is one more meeting planned in Boujdour, tomorrow 1 December, apart from today's meeting in El Aaiun.

In early November, the UN Human Rights Committee emphasized the importance of the Saharawi people's "prior, free and informed consent to the realization of developmental projects and [resource] extraction operations".

WSRW yesterday wrote to ACWA Power's CEO, Mr Paddy Padmanathan, asking what steps the firm had taken to obtain the express consent of the Saharawis to construct solar infrastructure in their homeland. The company has today acknowledged receipt of the letter, but did not yet reply on content.



acwa_30.11.2016_609.jpg



    

Top
News:

19.07 - 2018 / 19.07 - 2018Fishmeal from occupied Western Sahara now being unloaded in Germany
17.07 - 2018 / 17.07 - 2018Caught fishing illegally in occupied Western Sahara
16.07 - 2018 / 16.07 - 2018Polisario condemns Council's approval of Western Sahara trade deal
16.07 - 2018 / 16.07 - 2018EU Council approves Morocco trade deal to include Western Sahara
16.07 - 2018 / 16.07 - 2018EU vessels return home in absense of new EU-Morocco fish deal
06.07 - 2018 / 06.07 - 2018EU Parliament backs self-determination - split on EU Court ruling
05.07 - 2018 / 05.07 - 2018Berlin sceptical - misguided by EU Commission
03.07 - 2018 / 03.07 - 2018Saharawi groups object to EU's Western Sahara trade plans
03.07 - 2018 / 02.07 - 2018This is how the European Commission will violate the CJEU ruling
29.06 - 2018 / 29.06 - 2018Morocco now demands twice the money for EU fishing in Western Sahara
25.06 - 2018 / 27.08 - 2010Support Western Sahara Resource Watch
23.06 - 2018 / 23.06 - 2018Maersk drops transports of conflict rock from occupied Western Sahara
21.06 - 2018 / 21.06 - 2018EU Parliament critical of Commission’s Western Sahara approach
18.06 - 2018 / 16.06 - 2018Polisario initiates new law suit against EU-Morocco fish deal
18.06 - 2018 / 18.06 - 2018Polisario takes EU Council to Court over aviation deal with Morocco
18.06 - 2018 / 18.06 - 2018New book on the plunder of Western Sahara
14.06 - 2018 / 14.06 - 2018Commission misleads EU states on Polisario talks, documentation shows
14.06 - 2018 / 14.06 - 2018Here, the EU Commission is lying about WSRW - and 93 other groups
11.06 - 2018 / 11.06 - 2018This is how the Commission proposes to deal with Western Sahara trade
08.06 - 2018 / 08.06 - 2018Saharawis demonstrated in front of EU Commission




EN ES FR DE AR

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

tn_law_hammer.jpg

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!

tn_court_photo_gdeim_izik_610.jpg

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

tn_sjovik_demo_610.jpg

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

tn_poweringplunder_eng_610.jpg

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.

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


Register for our English newsletter:









These web pages have been built with the financial support of the trade union Industry Energy