The Moroccan government's agency for solar energy (MASEN) on 17 October opened an exposition inside the European Parliament. The stunt contained several graphics of renewable projects in Morocco.
However, the exhibitor had also included two large maps which depicted Western Sahara as part of Morocco. Neither the EU nor any EU member state recognise Western Sahara as part of the Moroccan territory. Its claims have been rejected by the International Court of Justice and of the UN.
Consequently, a number of members of the European parliament well aware of the conflict, urged the parliament secretariat to intervene.
Thus, already on 19 October, the controversial maps were taken down. The exposition was originally planned to be in the PHS building of the parliament the entire week. It was rented to a French MEP who is supportive to the Moroccan claims.
Morocco is soon to COP22 on 7-18 November, and will use the occasion to spread propaganda regarding its projects in the occupied territory.
On Thursday, someone placed a large Moroccan flag over the place where the maps were located.
Similar maps were presented in a MASEN exposition in Abu Dhabi earlier this year. The images below were taken 3 April 2016.
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.