Author Archives: appleton

Moroccan forces transfer Gdeim Izik prisoners to other Moroccan prisons

Sahara Press Service

17 September 2017

Al-Arjat Prison (Morocco) 16 September 2017 – The Moroccan forces on Saturday carried out the abusive transfer of Sahrawi political prisoners of Gdeim Izik from Al-Arjat prison to other Moroccan prisons, according to a Saharawi media source.

The Moroccan forces on Saturday carried out the abusive transfer of Sahrawi political prisoners of Gdeim Izik from Al-Arjat prison to other Moroccan prisons, according to a Saharawi media source.

The families of the Saharawi political prisoners of Gdeim Izik group confirmed that Al-Arjat prison guards attacked the prisoners’ cells and forcibly transferred them to other prisons.

The political prisoners of Gdeim Izik group are probably transferred to the Moroccan prisons of Knetra and Ait Melloul, where the Moroccan authorities have just completed some works in these prisons, added the source.

This abusive transfer is part of retaliation against the group, condemned to heavy sentences of imprisonment ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment, for their successive demands to be transferred to the prison occupied of El Aaiún. (SPS)

Stop the Rogue EU Trade Talks With Morocco Over Western Sahara

TTIP

24 September 2017

EU Commission contravening ECJ ruling and breaching principles of international law, warn Green MEPs Florent Marcellesi, Bodil Valero, Barbara Lochbihler, Pascal Durand, Bart Staes and Margrete Auken, Members Of The European Parliament From The Greens/EFA Group.

The December 2016 ruling by the European Court of Justice reaffirmed that Morocco had no sovereignty over Western Sahara and put an end to 16 years of (illegal) application of the EU-Morocco trade agreements in relation to that territory. The Commission and the Member States have been at pains to find a solution that would conform with the ruling, yet placate their Moroccan partner. In other terms, the EU has embarked on an illusory attempt to square the circle of upholding European law while continuing to support the decades-long violation of international law that constitutes Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara.

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UN Note to Correspondents on Western Sahara

The Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara, Horst Koehler, took up his functions on 8 September in New York, where he held meetings and consultations until 16 September. Mr. Koehler met with the Secretary-General and senior United Nations officials, representatives of the parties and neighbors, Member States and the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security.

The Secretary-General welcomed the intention of his Personal Envoy to travel to the region. He stressed the importance of the visit to help re-launch the political process in a new spirit and dynamic, in accordance with Security Council resolution 2351 (2017). Mr. Koehler looks forward to travelling to the region and engaging with the parties in a spirit of trust and compromise.

New York, 17 September 2017

Western Sahara has won its conflict cargo case in South Africa

The Moroccan state company OCP has decided to drop defending the detained conflict mineral cargo in South Africa. The Saharawi people thus won a 5 million USD walk-over victory before the trial over phosphate rock ownership even had begun.

On 1 May 2017, the bulk vessel NM Cherry Blossom was detained in Port Elizabeth, on a stop-over to New Zealand. The vessel contained 55.000 tonnes of phosphate rock from occupied Western Sahara.

The UN has concluded that any exploitation of resources in Western Sahara would be illegal if the Saharawi people do not consent to it. Similarly, the Court of Justice of the EU on 21 December 2016 judged that trading with the territory would be illegal without such consent. However, Morocco, illegally occupying parts of Western Sahara since 1975, has kept the exports of Western Sahara phosphate rock. In 2016, Morocco earned over 200 million USD from the rock export from the territory.

The second biggest importing country is New Zealand, where two farmer co-operatives import from the occupied territory.

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Saharawi government response to the withdrawal of a defence in the case of a cargo of phosphate rock detained en route to New Zealand from occupied Western Sahara

Bir Lehlu Western Sahara

13 July 2017

The government of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (the SADR) and the Saharawi national liberation movement, the Polisario Front, welcomed an announcement today that there would be no further defence of a case by Morocco’s state company OCP SA over a cargo of phosphate mineral rock detained under court order in South Africa.

The 55,000 tonne cargo had been illegally exported from occupied Western Sahara in April for delivery to the New Zealand fertilizer company Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited.  Carried aboard the m.v. NM Cherry Blossom, it was detained on May 1 under a civil court order after an application by Saharawi authorities in South Africa’s High Court.  On June 15, the Court determined that the claim should proceed to a full trial, noting that the Saharawi government had prima facie ownership of the cargo.  A copy of the decision in Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic and Another v Owner and Charterers of the MV ‘NM Cherry Blossom’ and Others [2017] ZAECPEHC 31 is available at: <www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAECPEHC/2017/31.html>.

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Western Sahara – European Commission ‘ignoring’ of UN-recognised Polisario Front on EU-Morocco Agreement raised in Dáil

An Phoblacht

1 June 2017

John Hedges

Western Sahara is occupied by Morocco

A EUROPEAN COMMISSION move to renegotiate its Association Agreement with Morocco on trade, political co-operation and development issues without involving the people of Western Sahara and their UN-recognised political representatives, the Polisario Front, has been raised in the Dáil (Irish Parliament) by Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe with the Irish Foreign Affairs Minister.

Morocco has occupied much of resource-rich Western Sahara since 1975. Most of the population has been expelled by force, many to camps in the Algerian desert where 165,000 refugees still live. United Nations resolutions have called for the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people. The United Nations considers the Polisario Front to be the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people.

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Perpetuity can not overshadow the $ 200 million annual stolen phosphate

Equip Media EMSahara

9 June 2017

Equip Media

Monday, June 5th 2017. The trial of the Saharawi political prisoners of the Gdeim Izik group opened before the Court of Appeal in Salé – Morocco. activists for the independence of Western Sahara and Human rights defenders , but also the lawyers by their absence protest against this unfair trial whose first hearings were held on March 13th 2017 after months of postponements.

On June 6th, in the space authorized for the Saharawi demonstrations, surrounded by the hubbub of Moroccan sound systems friends of Sid Ahmed Lamjayed sentenced to life imprisonment expressed their support and demands, among 80 other demonstrators.

On the panels we could read “Agrium shame on you”, “The phosphate is Sahrawi, and it belongs to our people”.

Sid Ahmed Lamjayed is the president of the CSPRON The committee to support the peace settlement and to protect the natural resources in Western Sahara. Continue reading

Western Sahara’s Hidden Democratic Promise

The Globe Post

19 June 2017

Elliott Schwebach

On the western coast of Northern Africa are a territory, a conflict, and a people that the world has mostly forgotten. Though many do not realize it, this level of neglect has serious ramifications for the state of democracy in the Middle East and North Africa.

As the right to national self-determination in Western Sahara has gone ignored and unfulfilled, a unique potential for the creation of a robust and functional democracy has also gone tragically unheeded.

In order to prevent future conflict and diminish possible openings for radicalization, it is important for world leaders committed to human rights and international stability to recognize the democratic potential of Western Sahara for what it is: a rare opportunity for low-cost, high-yield democratic transition and the best possible outcome for citizens in the region.

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New report reveals the companies transporting conflict phosphate rock

WSRW

16 June 2017

For 45 days now, the large motor vessel NM Cherry Blossom has been detained in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. On 15 June 2017, the High Court in the country found that the ship, carrying conflict minerals from occupied Western Sahara, is to remain there until a trial concludes on the real ownership of the cargo.

Which shipping company could be the next in having a vessel detained?

A new report published by WSRW today reveals the names of around 100 shipping companies behind the transport of phosphate rock from occupied Western Sahara in 2016 and 2017.

Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) today launches the first ever report to systematically outline the owners and operators of the vessels that transport the controversial phosphate to clients overseas. The export is done by Morocco, the occupying power. The report’s annex refers to around 100 shipping companies that took part in such transports from the territory from 1 January 2016 to 9 June 2017.

Download the 36-page report ‘Carriers of Conflict’ here.

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Saharawis won first round in conflict mineral cargo court case

WSRW

15 June 2017

A panel of judges in South Africa ruled today that the detention of NM Cherry Blossom on 1 May 2017 was correct.

The Western Sahara people has thus passed the first hurdle in the legal process to win ownership over a cargo of phosphate rock that Morocco has tried to export from the territory that it holds under occupation.

“The ICJ’s judgement is clear: Morocco has no claim to sovereignty over Western Sahara. Its claim as result of its occupation of the territory is incompatible with the status of Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory. Furthermore, it acquired control of the territory by force. This, as a means of acquiring sovereignty, is contrary to customary international law”, the judges stated.

A panel of judges in the High Court in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, judged this morning that the cargo on board the vessel NM Cherry Blossom is rightfully detained, and that a trial to determine its ownership is to take place.

The court decided that the sheriff is “directed and authorised to remove the ship’s registration documents and trading certificates” until the case is settled.
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