Research service of Bundestag analyses Morocco's settlement policy
An analysis of the legal aspects of the conflict in Western Sahara has led the research department of the German parliament to conclude that there are substantiated violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention by Morocco, that is to be considered an occupying power.
The Status Report delves deep into two main issues: the legal status of Western Sahara under international law, and the application of International Criminal Law and International Humanitarian Law.
On the first issue - the legal status of the territory - the report concludes that Morocco is not to be considered as the administering power of Western Sahara, and that the notion ‘de-facto administering power’ is not meaningful in context of international law. Moreover, the report deduces that Western Sahara is under occupation and that “Morocco is to be considered the occupying power”.
In the second main part, the report concludes that Morocco's settlement policy in Western Sahara - described as the transfer of its own civilians into the territory as well as indirect measures in promotion thereof - substantiates a violation of the fourth Geneva Convention and of the Additional Protocol (I) to the Geneva Convention.
“While not a legal opinion, the Status Report certainly does capture the main legal aspects to the Western Sahara conflict”, says Tim Sauer from Western Sahara Resource Watch. "We sincerely hope companies will take due note of the report's conclusions that Morocco is occupying Western Sahara and that its policy of settling its own nationals in Western Sahara substantiates a violation of international law. We cannot imagine any responsible businesses desiring an association with such practices".
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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.