Luxembourg pension fund bins Kosmos and Cairn over Western Sahara
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The Luxembourg government fund has blacklisted the American oil company Kosmos Energy and its Scottish partner Cairn Energy due to "association to illegal exploitation of natural resources (Western Sahara)".
Published 22 January 2016

On 15 November 2015, the Fonds de Compensation commun au régime général de pension (FDC), published its updated list of companies that it has decided to blacklist. Included in that list was American oil company Kosmos Energy Ltd [or download], the first company to have drilled an exploration well in the history of Western Sahara under Moroccan occupation. Also included was Scottish oil firm Cairn Energy, which in November 2013 bought a minority stake in Kosmos' operations in Western Sahara.

In October 2014, WSRW published a report about Kosmos Energy's oil exploration in Western Sahara, documenting the devastating effects of the company's operations on the UN-led peace process in Western Sahara. The report "Platform for Conflict" can be downloaded here.

It is not the first time that FDC excludes companies from its portfolios over their connection to Western Sahara. In 2014, the Fund announced that it had divested from six companies that are known purchasers of phosphate rock from occupied Western Sahara; Canada's Agrium Inc and Potash Corp Sasketchewan, Australian firms Wesfarmers and Incitec Pivot Ltd and USA firms Innophos Holdings and FMC Corporation. The Fund cited the same reason then as it does now in relation to the Kosmos-Cairn divestment: "association to illegal exploitation of natural resources in Western Sahara".

FDC's exclusion list mentioning the blacklisting of Kosmos Energy and Cairn Energy, can be downloaded here.

The UN Legal Counsel in 2002 stated that any further oil exploration in Western Sahara would be illegal if the people do not consent to it. The people of Western Sahara has systematically objected to the oil exploration programmes ever since.

In October 2015, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Geneva also stressed the need for Morocco to respect the rights of the Saharawis to be informed and to give their prior consent to the exploitation of their resources. This has not been the case for the Kosmos drilling.

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