Das sind die Fragen, die Siemens nicht beantwortet
6059ca56815ce_Khalil Dambar2

Bei Kernfragen zum umstrittenen Engagement des Unternehmens in der besetzten Westsahara war Siemens Gamesa auf seiner Hauptversammlung so ausweichend wie immer.

01. April 21

Oben: Khalil Dambar hat 2010 seinen Bruder Said durch die Waffe eines marokkanischen Polizisten verloren. Khalil und der Rest des sahrauischen Volkes lehnen die Projekte von Siemens Gamesa in der besetzten Westsahara ab. Foto von Equipe Media. 

Seit einem Jahrzehnt liefern, installieren und warten verschiedene mit Siemens verwobene Unternehmen - insbesondere Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) - Windkraftanlagen in der besetzten Westsahara. Auf seiner Hauptversammlung am 17. März 2021 vermied das Unternehmen erneut, Stellung zu Fragen zu den umstrittenen Aktivitäten zu beziehen. 

Die fraglichen Verträge befinden sich im Portfolio von Nareva, dem Windenergieunternehmen, das dem König von Marokko gehört, der eine persönliche Verantwortung für die anhaltende Besatzung der letzten Kolonie in Afrika trägt. Die beiden bereits in Betrieb befindlichen Windparks, Foum el Oued und Aftissat, dienen industriellen Endverbrauchenden, wie etwa der Tochtergesellschaft Phosboucraa des marokkanischen Staatsunternehmens OCP, das die Phosphatreserven des Hoheitsgebiets ohne Selbstverwaltung illegal ausbeutet. Im September 2020 gab SGRE eine Pressemitteilung über den Abschluss des Vertrags für den 300-MW-Windpark Boujdour heraus, der von SGRE "im Süden Marokkos" verortet wird. Boujdour ist jedoch eine Stadt an der zentralen Küste der Westsahara. 

Bis heute hat Siemens nicht geklärt, ob das Unternehmen jemals die ausdrückliche Zustimmung der Bevölkerung der Westsahara für seine Aktivitäten erhalten hat oder nicht. Seit 2016 hat der Europäische Gerichtshof (EuGH) in mehreren aufeinanderfolgenden Urteilen entschieden, dass die Westsahara ein von jedem Land der Welt, einschließlich Marokko, "gesondertes und unterschiedliches" Territorium ist und dass sein Volk ein Recht auf Selbstbestimmung hat - wie bereits 1975 vom Internationalen Gerichtshof festgestellt und in weit über 100 UN-Resolutionen festgehalten. Als solches, so entschied der EuGH, ist die Zustimmung des Volkes der Westsahara notwendig für die Rechtmäßigkeit jeglicher kommerzieller Aktivität auf ihrem Territorium. Bei der Überprüfung von Marokkos Bilanz nach internationalem Recht wurde dieselbe Position auch von UN-Vertragsorganen vertreten. Norwegens größte private Vermögensverwaltung Storebrand hat kürzlich sowohl Siemens Energy als auch SGRE wegen ihres Beitrags zu Verletzungen des internationalen Rechts in der Westsahara aus ihrem Portfolio gestrichen.

Nach über 10 Jahren hat sich Siemens’ Bewertung seiner Aktivitäten in der Westsahara nicht weiterentwickelt, trotz wachsender Kritik von zivilgesellschaftlichen Organisationen und dem Volk, das die souveränen Rechte an dem Territorium hält: den Sahrauis. Das sahrauische Volk hat sich immer und immer wieder gegen die Aktivitäten von Siemens in der Westsahara ausgesprochen. Auch bei der diesjährigen Hauptversammlung protestierten sahrauische Demonstranten vor der Zentrale von SGRE und forderten das Unternehmen auf, ihr besetztes Land zu verlassen. Ein Sahraui konfrontierte SGRE direkt auf der Hauptversammlung mit Fragen. Bereits Tage vor der Veranstaltung hatte die sahrauische NGO Saharawi Civil Society in Europe eine Social-Media-Kampagne unter dem Slogan #SiemensGamesaGetOut gestartet.

In Zusammenarbeit mit dem Dachverband der Kritischen Aktionärinnen und Aktionäre hatte Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) erneut Fragen zu den rechtlichen Grundlagen der Tätigkeit von SGRE in der Westsahara eingereicht. Die Antwort von SGRE - die wiederum auf keine der Fragen eingeht - finden Sie im Englischen Original zusammen mit den Fragen am Ende des Artikels.

Es ist bemerkenswert, dass WSRW dieselben Fragen am 18. Februar 2021 schriftlich an Siemens Energy, das 67% der Anteile an Siemens Gamesa hält, gestellt hatte. Siemens Energy hat am 23. März in einem von der Rechtsabteilung abgezeichneten Schreiben geantwortet, dass es Sache von Siemens Gamesa sei, solche Fragen zu beantworten, "da diese Geschäftsaktivitäten in der Westsahara in den Bereich und die Verantwortung von SGRE fallen". Bislang hat SGRE dies nicht getan, auch nicht auf der letzten Hauptversammlung.

Von WSRW und dem Dachverband der kritischen Aktionärinnen und Aktionäre zur Hauptversammlung von SGRE am 17. März 2021 eingereichte Fragen (englisch) 

"1. In four consecutive rulings, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has underlined that Western Sahara and Morocco are two ‘distinct and separate’ territories and that the legal prerequisite for economic activities in Western Sahara is the explicit consent of the Saharawi people.

a) Does SGRE agree with the ECJ, the UN and the International Court of Justice that Western Sahara is a Non-Self-Governing Territory, and not a region of another country?

b) On what legal basis did SGRE conclude that the Boujdour wind farm is to be located in "the South of Morocco", a view expressed in its press release in September 2020?

c) Locating Boujdour in Morocco is a tacit recognition of the Western Sahara as part of the Moroccan territory. Why does SGRE take such a position on international public law?

c) Does SGRE consider it necessary to obtain the consent of the Saharawi people for its activities in Western Sahara?

d) Does SGRE consider holding talks with Moroccan governmental institutions to be a valid means of obtaining the consent of the Saharawi people?

e) ‘SGRE engaged with Saharawi representatives present in the region’, your parent company Siemens Energy stated at its AGM on 10 February 2021. Which Saharawi representatives in the territory has SGRE engaged with? Has SGRE engaged with a single Saharawi who advocates for the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination? If yes, who? What did this person say about your operation on Saharawi land?

2. Siemens Energy stated that SGRE will ‘continue and monitor developments in the field of human rights’ in Western Sahara.

a) What sources, independent from the Moroccan government, will SGRE rely on to do so?

b) How does SGRE assess the credibility of Moroccan official institutions with regard to the situation in the territory that Morocco holds under illegal military occupation?

3. Siemens Energy referred to a legal opinion carried out by SGRE, which supposedly “reaffirmed (...) the compliance of activities in Western Sahara with applicable law”.

a) Will SGRE make this legal opinion publicly available, including sharing it with the people of Western Sahara? If not, why?

b) Can SGRE explain which legal framework is meant with “applicable law”?

c) Who wrote this external legal opinion?

3. The contract for the Boujdour wind farm was signed with the company Narvea, which is owned by the Moroccan king. In this way, SGRE ensures that the king, who is politically responsible for the occupation of Western Sahara, can personally profit from the occupation. Is this anchoring of the occupation, which is contrary to international law, ethically justifiable from your point of view?

4. In November 2020, a group of members of the European Parliament warned Siemens of "serious legal and moral risks" in doing business in Western Sahara. Why did SGRE ignore this warning and why does it continue to pursue these deals?

5. The first consequences of this decision are already becoming apparent: in January 2021, Norway's largest private asset manager, Storebrand, excluded Siemens Gamesa from its portfolio due to concerns over international law for business in the Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara. How high does SGRE assess the risk that other investing companies will follow Storebrand's example?

6. On November 18, 2020, UN-recognized representative of the Saharawi people, the Polisario Front, declared all of Western Sahara a war zone and called on all foreign companies to immediately cease doing business in the occupied territories. Will SGRE heed this call from the people of Western Sahara?

7. Following the withdrawal of Norwegian asset manager Storebrand, will you review your activities and plans in Western Sahara?

8. How do you ensure the safety of your employees who may be affected by the conflict?"

 

RESPONSE BY SGRE AT THE AGM, 17 MARCH 2021

"Please be aware, as a general statement that Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, S.A. (hereinafter “SGRE”) refrains, as a matter of policy, from taking positions or making judgements on questions of international law as well as political matters and such remains our position.

Under such premise, we are pleased to provide you with our Company ́s position on the matters you address in the Letter:

1. First of all, and starting from the last point of the Letter, please be assured that health and safety of our employees is of vital essence for SGRE. Having installed our wind turbines in more than 90 countries in the five continents, and within the framework of our strict Security and Health and Safety protocols, we continuously monitor the progress and development in all regions we operate, closely together with our customers and key stakeholders, to ensure that our employees work in safe environments.

In all the regions that we operate in, our internal security protocols include the following recurrent activities:

• Security risks are assessed and periodically updated.

• Security Incidents are monitored and assessed as part of an early alert mechanism.

• Adequate and proportional security measures are implemented according to existing risks.

• Security briefings and instructions are given to our employees.

2. We are aware that the region of Western Sahara is disputed, and that the UN considers the zone as a “non-self-governing territory” since 1963. We at SGRE have neither the mandate nor the capacity to independently advocate on such questions or to issue recognitions under international law or to affirm a territorial status. These matters fall entirely, under the responsibility of governments and institutions, that possess the adequate political capacity, and of other international organizations. We support the position of the international community and the UN, which has consistently called on the parties involved to reach a mutually acceptable political solution.

3. Related to the Ruling by the European Court of Justice, we fully support the statement made back in November 2020 by the European Union ́s High representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mr. Josep Borrell, emphasizing its hope for a “fast-return” to UN-supervised talks, which had been suspended since March 2019, and the need for appointment of a new UN envoy for Western Sahara; the envoy position remains vacant since May 2019, after former envoy Mr. Horst Köhler, appointed August 2017, had to step down due to health reasons.

4. We fully respect the decision adopted by Storebrand -Norway's largest private asset manager-, which is relying not only in international law but also on the recommendations of the Norwegian authorities who suggest the private sector to refrain from any agreement - including investments - in Western Sahara.

5. SGRE ́s involvement in projects is limited to delivery, installation, commissioning and service of the wind turbines, being that legal duties related to project development are within the scope of responsibilities of our customers, which own and operate the wind farms according to applicable laws. In addition to this, although human rights treaties do not bind SGRE as a private Company, SGRE has made a voluntary commitment to observe fundamental human rights within the framework of the UN Global Compact.

6. Furthermore, in accordance with our commitment to the UN Guiding Principles of Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines, the external legal assessment updated in February 2020 confirmed, again, the position of SGRE about the compliance of its activities in Western Sahara with applicable laws. Based on our hope for an amicable resolution of controversies, we are continuously monitoring the progress and development in the region closely together with our customers and key stakeholders.

7. In terms of the right of self-determination of people, the installation and servicing of a wind farm under SGRE ́s scope of work does not prevent local population from such right, because the project does not cut them off from access to basic services or institutions, does not destroy or erode the existing infrastructure and does not result in a depletion of natural resources. The capture and use of wind power by the equipment supplied by SGRE is not contrary to the interests of the local population.

8. On the contrary, local population shall benefit from the access to electricity by SGRE ́s contribution to green technologies, considering the vast renewables sources the region is endowed with. The region and its people have a tremendous opportunity to develop fostering investment in renewable energy, and SGRE is bringing and sharing the expertise gained globally throughout the years. SGRE follows its employment policy to hire local workforce first, whenever possible, for its projects. It is not only part time or secondary employment, it also involves both sub-contracting or else internal hiring of local workers full time. For example, during the construction of the Tarfaya wind farm (located just above the western Sahara region), 30% of Saharawi workforce was hired, and for the Aftissat wind farm construction, even 40% of total workforce employed was Saharawi. Recently, in partnership with the NGO’s High Atlas Foundation (HAF) and Santé Sud, SGRE has developed local programs focusing on water access systems, local health, and educational projects. For the access to water project, a canal, drinking towers and pumps were built to provide the main water supply for the Boujdour region ́s nomadic population, enlightened by solar panels. SGRE and HAF also conducted an environmental campaign with 17 schools located in Boujdour, focused on workshops involving 1,000 students on environmental awareness, waste management and tree planting activities. All initiatives are in respect to SDG 3 (Good health and wellbeing), SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 6 (Clean water and sanitation) and SDG 7 (Affordable and clean energy). We also supported the local communities during covid-19 times by distributing food, sanitary products as well as planting 5,000 trees in the region.

9. As it is customary within its scope of work, SGRE engages with local civil society organizations, i.e. Saharawi people representatives present in the region in this case in order to maximize the positive socio-economic outcome of the activities being carried out.

While we remain close to key global institutional stakeholders to foster a prompt amicable resolution of controversies, SGRE remain committed to the development of the region and its people, based on vast renewables resources the land is endowed with."

Nachrichten

Siemens führt dritten Export durch

Zum dritten Mal innerhalb einer Woche verschifft Siemens Gamesa Windradmasten von Spanien in die besetzte Westsahara.

08. July 21

Polisario verurteilt Siemens' Lieferungen

In einer Pressemitteilung vom 6. Juli verurteilt die Befreiungsbewegung der Westsahara die Beteiligung von Siemens Gamesa und die in dieser Woche erfolgten Exporte in das besetzte Territorium "aufs Schärfste" .

07. July 21

Jetzt gerade: Siemens Gamesa verschifft Konfliktwindräder

Siemens Gamesa verlädt heute in Motril, Spanien, große Masten an Bord eines Schiffes, um sie in die besetzte Westsahara zu exportieren.

06. July 21

Siemens weigert sich erneut, Fragen zur Westsahara zu beantworten

Im vierten Jahr in Folge weicht der deutsche Technologiekonzern auf seiner Jahreshauptversammlung der Frage aus, ob es die Zustimmung des Volkes der Westsahara erhalten hat, auf dessen Land tätig zu werden.

06. February 20