Norwegian government party demands Gearbulk to terminate transports
A statement was unanimously adopted at the Norwegian Socialist Left Party's National Board meeting today, 16th of june 2008, asking Gearbulk to terminate its engagement in Western Sahara. The Socialist Left Party is the second biggest party in the Norwegian coalition government. Read the statement here.
Norway's Socialist Left Party asks Gearbulk to terminate its Western Sahara transports. While other Norwegian companies have stopped their trade with natural resources from Western Sahara, the shipping company Gearbulk continues to deliver phosphates from Western Sahara to New Zealand. Gearbulk is 60% owned by ship owners from Bergen, Norway.
Western Sahara has been illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975. While Morocco refuses to allow a UN held referendum for Western Sahara's future to take place, Morocco exports phosphates from the neighbouring country. The majority of the Sahrawi people has fled the country since the invasion, and do not profit from the trade.
Western Sahara is in addition to being occupied, listed by the UN as a so-called Non-Self-Governing Territory, and it is treated by the UN as the last colony in Africa. Trade of phosphates from Western Sahara is therefore most likely in violation of international law. The General Assembly has consistently condemned the exploitation and plundering of natural resources and any economic activities which are detrimental to the interests of peoples of Non-Self Governing Territories.
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs advices against trade and business activities that can contribute to legitimate the situation in Western Sahara. The Ministry of Finance has previously demanded that the shares in the US oil company Kerr-McGee were to be sold from the Norwegian Government's Pension Fund due to the oil company's oil exploration in Western Sahara. The company's activities were then described as a 'a particularly serious violation of fundamental ethical norms'.
The National Board of Socialist Left Party, urges Gearbulk strongly to immediately terminate its contract for phosphate deliveries from occupied Western Sahara to New Zealand. Socialist Left Party will continue its work so that Morocco stops violating, but rather respects the human rights in the occupied Western Sahara.
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.
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