Expelled after doing interviews on Glencore-SeaBird oil exploration
A delegation from the Rafto Fundation for Human Rights was 10 December expelled from occupied Western Sahara by Moroccan police. The group entered the territory to discuss the Glencore-SeaBird seismic studies with local human rights activists.
Click on photo above for high resolution. Use freely.
A delegation from the Rafto Fundation was to follow up on the organisation of former Rafto laureate, Sidi Mohamed Daddach, during a visit to Western Sahara. The delegation, consisting of Kristina Vågen Fiskum and Bjørnar Østerhus Dahle, was, however, detained by Moroccan police and escorted out of the territory.
“We were awoken by civilian Moroccan police at 08:50 AM European time. They refused to identify themselves”, they explained in a telephone call to the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara.
They explain how the police confiscated their passports, and returned them at a border control on the outskirts of the city.
“We protested, but were met with head shaking and negative answers. When we protested further, we were met with aggressive French, and it ended with me being physically pushed into the taxi”, Dahle explains over the phone from Western Sahara. As they later arrived Marrakech, they were placed under police surveillance.
During their stay, they met with representatives from the Rafto Award laureate Daddach’s human rights organisation CODAPSO. They discussed the violations in the territory, and the engagement of the Norwegian seismic company SeaBird, which is doing a seismic survey outside the coast of Western Sahara in cooperation with the Moroccan government and the Swiss company Glencore. SeaBird's activities have been referred to in in Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet for the past two days. Former UN Legal Counsel has called SeaBird's exploration in violation of international law.
Daddach was awarded with the Rafto Prize for Human Rights in 2002, after having spent 24 years in Moroccan jails.
This was the fifth Norwegian delegation evicted from Western Sahara this year. Read about the former 4 delegations here. Chair of the Rafto Foundation, Arne Lynngård, was evicted from Western Sahara in 2005.
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.