4 Danish municipalities stop purchase of Saharan conflict salt
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A quartet of Danish municipalities have demanded from controversial salt importer Danske Vejsalt that no Western Sahara road salt is sold to them.

Published 01 July 2014

The Danish company Dansk Vejsalt A/S imports road salt from occupied Western Sahara, selling it to Danish muncipalities. Four municipalities have now told they do not wish to use such conflict salt from the company. 

Morocco has occupied Western Sahara since 1975, an occupation which has not been recognised by UN and the international community. WSRW revealed last year that Denmark was to import salt from Western Sahara. The salt import comes from a mine in the northern part of the territory. During the last year the Danish NGO, Afrika Kontakt has several times, and without luck, tried to get Dansk Vejsalt to stop the import of this salt. 

Morten Nielsen, Head of the Secretariat at Afrika Kontakt stated: 
“We saw it as our only option to contact the municipalities in Denmark to warn them about the fact that the salt they buy from Dansk Vejsalt can come from a conflict area and that the Danish government as well as the parliament recommends that public institutions do not buy products from Western Sahara”

Following those requests, the municipalities of Gladsaxe, Herlev, Rudersdal and Gentofte have decided not to use the salt from the occupied territory. 

Afrika Kontakt underlines that the decision of the municipalities is a clear victory. 
“It was the pressure from the four municipalities that made Dansk Vejsalt to promise that all salt to these municipalities in the future will come from Italy. We are very happy that the municipalities have demanded proper documentation to ensure that this is actually is the case”, Dennis O’Brien from Afrika Kontakt’s Western Sahara campaign group told.

Earlier this year the Foreign Affairs Ccommittee in the Danish Parliament agreed on a statement that summarized the Danish position to the conflict in Western Sahara, recommending all public institutions to reject products from the occupied Western Sahara. Private companies were asked to be considerate if working in Western Sahara ensuring documentation that their activities will benefit the indigenous population. 

A legal investigation by Gladsaxe municipality proved that all documentation provided by Dansk Vejsalt to legitimise their import of salt from Western Sahara cannot be used as proper documentation to ensure that the transactions benefit the indigenous population. Furthermore it has become clear that the company misuses a statement from the foreign ministry to blueprint their import of the salt from Western Sahara, which clearly states that: “Exploitation of natural recourses in [occupied] areas must according to international law be made in compliance with the interest of the indigenous population and must not be made unless it profits the indigenous people.

Despite the small victory, road salt from Western Sahara continues to be imported by Dansk Vejsalt and continually used in many Danish municipalities.Afrika Kontakt will therefore continue to contact the Danish municipalities to make them stop the use of the road salt from the territory.

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