In January, a Norwegian news service discovered that a company from the Faroe Islands was involved in the exploration of natural resources in occupied Western Sahara.
The Faroese company Thor Offshore is using one of their vessels as a supply vessel for the Norwegian company Fugro-Geoteam in the search for oil exploration. Such Moroccan oil exploration is in violation of international law as long as the people of Western Sahara is against it. Morocco has occupied the major part of Western Sahara since 1975.
After the issue of Thor Offshore has been covered on Faroese TV and national newspapers for several days, on the 2nd of February, the Faroese Ministry of Foreign Affairs published the statement below on its homepages, which supports the interpretation of the UN.
"In light of the ongoing international debate about the legal status of Western Sahara, the Government of the Faroes has issued the following statement:
The foreign policy of the government of the Faroes is based on the fundamental view that all nations should strive for cooperation and harmony in their relations with each other.
The primary aim of the United Nations is to maintain international peace and security and the Government of the Faroes recognises that all nations have an equal right to exercise their right to self-determination.
The United Nations recognises that the people of Western Sahara have the right to self-determination and the Government of the Faroes supports their desire to exercise this right in practice.
The Government of the Faroes supports United Nations resolutions stating that the natural resources of Western Sahara should only be exploited and utilised when this is in accordance with the common will of the people of Western Sahara."
Here is the Faroese version. "Frßbo um st°una Ý Vestursahara
UttanrÝkispolitikkur F°roya byggir ß hugsjˇnina um, at samljˇ og samstarv skal vera millum heimsins tjˇir. TŠr eru javnar Ý metum og skulu sřna viring og hˇvsemi sÝnßmillum.
Fremsta endamßl Sameindu Tjˇa er at tryggja heiminum fri og tryggleika. F°roya landsstřri viurkennir třdningin av ßhaldandi royndunum at tryggja heimsins tjˇum javnbjˇis rŠtt at ˙tinna sjßlvsavgerarrŠtt sÝn.
Sameindu Tjˇir viurkenna, at fˇlki Ý Vestursahara hevur rŠtt at skipa seg sjßlvt, og landsstřri stular ynskjum teirra at fremja henda rŠtt Ý verki.
Landsstřri stular samtyktunum um, at nßtt˙rutilfeingi bert skal ˙tvinnast, um hetta er Ý trß vi fˇlksins vilja Ý Vestursahara."
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 five 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 peopleĺs social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
At COP22, beware of what you read about Moroccoĺs 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.