Category Archives: Oil and gas exploration

Can the EU answer these questions on Western Sahara trade talks?

Western Sahara Resource Watch

30 May 2017


Above: The tank vessel Key Bay seen in the harbor of El Aaiun on 6 January 2017 – the first confirmed transport of goods from Western Sahara into the EU after the landmark judgment of the CJEU.

On 21 December 2016, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) judged that EU-Morocco trade deals cannot include the territory of Western Sahara.

Yet, the EU Commission has been pushing hard the EU member states to ignore that judgement. And in spite of vocal opposition from the UN-recognised representative of the people of Western Sahara – the Polisario Front – this morning, EU member states gave their green light to the Commission to start talks with Morocco for Western Sahara trade. Continue reading

Natural resources and resistance in Western Sahara

Democracy in Action

Joanna Allen

22 May 2017

The Sahara, 

my brothers and sisters,

is not for sale.

The green of my land,

makes me proud,

as the beauty of its pastures,

in the eyes of the good shepherd.

The phosphates you desire,

they will cause you harm,

not even if they were for sale, 

will you be able to buy them.

So go the first lines of a poem by Fatma Brahim, who composed the work in 1976 as she and her daughters left the destroyed refugee camp of Um Dreiga, Western Sahara, after the Moroccan air force napalmed it. The poem, titled “Sahara is not for sale,” has become a classic revolutionary song for Saharawis, who are still pursuing their struggle for independence. It succinctly draws attention to a central aspect of the Western Sahara conflict, and an increasingly key demand made by Saharawi pro-independence activists: natural resources.

Continue reading

A wave of divestments over illegal resource exploitation in Western Sahara

Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW), 27 June 2016

In recent months, several investment firms have relinquished their interests in companies that are involved in the natural resource exploitation of occupied Western Sahara.
Ever more investors are leaving the small handful of the companies that take part in the exploration, exploitation and purchase of non-renewable resources. Details of 21 such companies are provided in this article.

WSRW article >>

World’s largest wealth fund drops Cairn and Kosmos over Western Sahara

tn_cairn_609Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW)  28 June 2016

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has announced it has excluded Kosmos Energy and Cairn Energy from its portfolios because of their oil search in Western Sahara. Approx. 54 million dollars of shares were sold.
“The Council recommends the exclusion (of Cairn and Kosmos)… due to an unacceptable risk of the companies contributing to serious violations of fundamental ethical norms through their hydrocarbon exploration offshore Western Sahara,” the council said.

Read more  >>

Louise Gronkjaer reports on a bizarre conference staged by the king of Morocco as a PR exercise

 Welcome to Dakhla – the pearl of the southern region of Morocco Philippe Maton/Flickr


Welcome to Dakhla – the pearl of the southern region of Morocco
Philippe Maton/Flickr

April 2015 – On Business Class to an Occupied City in the Desert

Louise Gronkjaer writes “A brand new conference hall in the middle of the desert. Hundreds of security guards to patrol every sand dune. And absolutely no good reasons to justify that the Moroccan king has spent thousands to fly me in. So why am I in Dakhla? …(cont.)”

Report on Dakhla conference >>

Western Sahara republic declares its exact Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)

sadr_eez_610WSRW, Western Sahara Resource Watch, 6 March 2016

Upon the visit of the UN Secretary-General to the Saharawi refugee camps yesterday, the SADR Government deposited with Ban Ki-Moon – as the depositary of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea – the coordinates and charts of its exact EEZ claims.
“The coordinates and charts showing the EEZ outer limits will now be communicated to all UN member states trough their Permanent Missions in New York”, stated Frente Polisario in a press release.

WSRW report >>

European Court ruling threatens Western Sahara contracts

Jan 21, 2016, Menas Associates, Sahara

A landmark ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in favour of the Polisario Front on 10 December has ordered the annulment of a trade agreement between Morocco and the European Union (EU) because it includes the territory of Western Sahara.
The March 2012 trade agreement, which failed to explicitly refer to Western Sahara, left open the possibility that the accord would apply in the disputed region, as both Morocco and the EU clearly intended.

Read more >>

Global Change, Peace and Security: Western Sahara: The Role of Resources in its Continuing Occupation

untitled13 November 2015
La Trobe Law School announces the publication of the latest issue of

Global Change, Peace & Security, Special Issue: Western Sahara: The Role of Resources in its Continuing Occupation
(Issue 27(3), October 2015).

To read about the right to self-determination, political and socio-economic factors that may inhibit its exercise, and the possible consequences of failure to give effect to that right in the context of the Saharawis of Western Sahara and Morocco’s exploitation of Saharawi natural resources, see this latest issue.
The journal is published by Routledge in association with La Trobe Law School.

Global Change, Peace & Security – Special issue: Contents

African Union publishes Legal Opinion on Western Sahara plunder

Western Sahara Resource Watch, 19 October 2015 16:10

The African Union has found the ongoing exploration and exploitation of the territory’s resources in violation of international law. A legal opinion that has been circulating the last weeks has been published on the AU website on 14 October 2015. The Opinion contains strong language and unambiguous conclusions with regard to the legality of Morocco’s exploration and exploitation of Western Sahara’s natural resources.

WSRW report >>