According to a UN legal opinion from 2002, Morocco has no right to explore for oil in Western Sahara without first consulting the Saharawi people.
Yet, the Moroccan state oil firm ONHYM proceeds with its illegal operations on its onshore Boujdour II block. The drilling operation is named BJD-1 and takes place 28 kilometres to the east of the Western Sahara coastal town of Boujdour.
The information about the exact location of the drilling operation is mentioned in a recently published tender document on ONHYM’s webpages. The tender document was written 25 of October 2011, and published earlier this week. The tender closes on 17 November this year.
The document calls for a technician to do measurements of the mud extracted from the drilling operation. It is presupposed in the document that the mudlogging partner company would be a foreign entity. The job will take maximum 5 months.
No information is mentioned in the tender document that the location of the drilling is not in Morocco, but in Western Sahara, the territory it partially annexed in 1975. The rights to the natural resources in Western Sahara belong to the people of the territory, not to Morocco. When Morocco invaded the territory in 1975, half the people fled the country. No state in the world recognises Western Sahara as being part of Morocco.
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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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.
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