Dutch pension fund kicks OCP over Western Sahara
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Morocco's state-owned phosphate company, responsible for the illegal exploitation of Western Sahara's phosphate reserves, was ditched over human rights issues in Western Sahara.
Published 02 February 2016


In April 2014, Morocco's state owned phosphate company, Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP), was allowed onto the Irish Stock Exchange, with an inaugural bond issue of 1.55 billion US dollars. Two coupons are available; a 10 year coupon at a rate of 5.625% and a 30 year coupon at 6.875%.

The Dutch pension fund for graphic designers PGB has excluded OCP from its portfolios in the fall of 2015, for "human rights violations in Western Sahara".

Ever since Morocco invaded Western Sahara in 1975, OCP took over the management of the territory's phosphate mines at Bou Craa. The UN Security Council's legal department concluded in 2002 that the exploitation and exploration of the mineral reserves of Western Sahara are a violation of international law if not undertaken in accordance with the benefits and the wishes of the Saharawi people - the rightful owners of the resources.

For years, Saharawis have been protesting against the illegal trade in phosphates mined in their occupied homeland. In recent months, an upsurge in protests could be witnessed in the occupied parts of Western Sahara, mainly targeted against OCP. Saharawis are frustrated that jobs created through the exploitation of their resources are overwhelmingly given to Moroccan settlers. They demand their right to employment, and - as banners at protests state -"fair share of our own wealth". The Moroccan regime deals with these protests as it deals with any form of dissent; with brutal force.

For decades, Morocco has sold off Western Sahara's highly lucrative phosphate rock as if it was entitled to do so. The revenues have been poured back into the costly occupation of Western Sahara.

OCP's affairs at the Irish Stock Exchange are managed by Barclays, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan; multinational financial services corporations based in the UK and USA.

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