The Gallician firm Jealsa operates a processing factory for sardines in the city of El Aaiun in occupied Western Sahara.
Since 2008, WSRW has demanded the halt of the firm's operations in the territory, pointing to the fact that the production and exports take place in the disregard of the wishes and interests of the Saharawi people.
From June 2010 to May 2011, WSRW has carried out several meetings with Jealsa, at their head quarters in Madrid. At one point the firm suggested it could label their products as being from Western Sahara instead of from Morocco.
However, the firm has refused to abandon its operations, and has not engaged in dialogue with the Sahrawi. The labelling change has also not been implemented.
Now, the Sahrawi are starting to lose patience. A new video that WSRW has been forwarded shows Sahrawi youth tagging their factory in El Aaiun.
In April the liberation movement of Western Sahara, Frente Polisario, sent a letter to Jealsa "urging the immediate halt of all operations in Western Sahara", requesting the firm to "withdraw from the territory".
Parallel to the criticism of Jealsa, several Spanish groups have also demanded from their main customer, the Spanish grocery chain Mercadona, to halt its purchases from Jealsa. Mercadona has placed all responsibility on the supplier.
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.