French telecom company Orange is proud to finance business opportunities in the Moroccan kingdom's ”southern provinces", praying that “may God assist His Highness, the Moroccan king”.
Orange Maroc - a Moroccan subsidiary of the French telecom giant Orange - on 11 May 2023 wrote on LinkedIn that it had the status of “gold sponsor” for an investment fair in Dakhla.
Very controversially, the company refers to Dakhla as being in the “southern provinces” of the kingdom of Morocco.
It is not.
Western Sahara is a separate and distinct territory from Morocco, and the town of Dakhla is in the part of Western Sahara that is under illegal Moroccan occupation.
1,5 hours after Orange Maroc posted the announcement, a LinkedIn account belonging to Hind Lfal - who joined Orange Maroc [or download] as secretary general in 2021 - made a separate LinkedIn post, equally problematic (our translation):
“We are proud to take part in the second edition of the ‘Day of Promotion of Investments in Dakhla’ on 11 and 12 May organised by APDAK under the high patronage of His Majesty the King VI, may God assist him. During this event, we will take part in the organised panels alongside political and economic stakeholders. Engaged in accompanying the different works initiated in the kingdom and particularly in the southern provinces, we are very proud to contribute to the development of infrastructure in the region.”
Referring to the territory as Morocco's “southern provinces” is deeply political, controversial and biased. It goes against the rulings of several international courts and hundreds of UN resolutions, who have all pronounced on the matter.
On its website, Orange SA’s Moroccan subsidiary Orange Maroc states having 7 offices in El Aaiún, 1 in Boujdour, 1 in Smara and 2 in Dakhla. They are all described as being located in "Morocco".
Western Sahara Resource Watch on 22 May sent a letter to Orange inquiring about the company's operations in the occupied territory, and its reference to Western Sahara as Morocco's alleged “southern provinces”. The letter has so far not been responded to.
“Western Sahara Resource Watch is convinced that it is not in the interest of Orange to become associated with the continued colonization and occupation of Western Sahara", WSRW wrote, underlining that “we take note of the fact that Orange correctly calls Russia’s brutal occupation of Ukraine an 'invasion'. Orange does not refer to Ukraine as 'Western provinces of Russia' and should not refer to Western Sahara as part of Morocco. Nor should Orange operate in the territory as if it were."
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