Category Archives: Oil and gas exploration

Morocco “denounces and rejects” UN recommendations

Western Sahara Resource Watch, 16 October 2015

Morocco reacts furiously to a UN Treaty Body recommending the country to respect the Saharawi people’s rights to self-determination and natural resources.

Earlier this week, the UN Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights had published its conclusions after having reviewed Morocco’s compliance with those rights.

WSRW report >>

Irish company San Leon Energy has discovered gas in the disputed territory of the Western Sahara

October 2015

Irish company San Leon Energy has discovered gas in the disputed territory of the Western Sahara, violating international legal principles. The Western Sahara is the subject of a decades-long dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front. RFI’s Daniel Finnan has more…

Listen to Daniel Finnan’s report >>

Hillary Clinton, Phosphates and Western Sahara

Professor Stephen Zunes, The Huffington Post 30 September 2015

Stephen Zunes writes of Morocco’s continuing violation of the UN codification of the rights of non-self-governing people to control their own natural resources. This longstanding international legal principle involves the nation of Western Sahara, the former Spanish colony invaded, occupied, and annexed by Morocco in 1975. (…cont.)

Professor Stephen Zunes report >>

Is Europe complicit in the plundering of Western Sahara

Johannes Hautaviita, The Empire Files 17 September 2015

Photo: Sahara Press Service

Photo: Sahara Press Service

In a recent development, which is all too familiar, an Irish oil company San Leon Energy began drilling south of Morocco’s border, on the north-western coast of occupied Western Sahara. For the oil drilling – and other resource extraction – to have legal validity, however, it ought to be carried out with the consent and in the interest of the occupied population.
The Sahrawi people have explicitly stated their opposition to San Leon’s activities.(…cont.)

Article >>

Trade Agreements, EU Law, and Occupied Territories – A Report on Polisario v Council

EJIL Analysis, July 1, 2015
Geraldo Vidigal, Senior Research Fellow at the Department of International Law and Dispute Resolution of the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg

Vidigal writes “Speaking of occupied territories, an interesting judgment should soon come from the General Court of the European Union (GC) in Action for Annulment Frente Polisario v Council (Case T-512/12), a case with fascinating international law aspects. I attended the hearing last week and think it warrants a report….(cont.)”


ACTU resolution on Western Sahara adopted on 28/5/2015

At the ACTU Congress today, 28 May, a resolution was passed on Western Sahara

The Australian Council of Trade Unions notes that
•             Morocco has occupied Western Sahara since 1975
•             UN efforts to accomplish the decolonisation process in Western Sahara have not been successful;
•             Around 165,000 Saharawis continue to live in dire conditions in refugee camps in South West of Algeria;
•             Saharawis in the occupied areas endure human rights abuses and denial of their basic rights;
•             The only just, legal and lasting solution to the conflict in Western Sahara, is to end the Moroccan illegal occupation and allow the Sahara people to exercise their right to self-determination, in accordance with the UN decolonisation doctrine;
•             Strongly supports the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and independence;
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243 organisations ask UN to condemn Morocco’s colonial oil plans

protest_camps_natural_resources_hr_full.jpgThis letter was sent on 15 April 2015 to the President of the UN Security Council, HE Dina Kawar, Ambassador of Jordan to the United Nations, with a request for circulation among the Members of the Council.
“No oil drilling should take place in the territory until the Saharawis have had the chance to exercise their right to self-determination and have freely and fairly decided the political status of their homeland”, the appeal to the Security Council writes…

AWSA is one of the signatories of this open letter to the Security Council: Read the Letter and list of signatories

10 April 2015: United Nations Secretary-General’s Report on Western Sahara

10 April, United Nations, Security Council
This latest UN Secretary-General report on the situation concerning Western Sahara is a disappointing indicator of the UN’s current position on Western Sahara.
In many respects it simply reaffirms the status quo and once again offers little hope that the UN will instigate meaningful change to support the Saharawi’s right to their country and their future. All this in a context of Morocco’s blatant violations of the basic requirements of the international community – self-determination – and of international law – the protection of human rights during an armed occupation.

UN Secretary-General’s 2015 report >>

Tim Robertson, SC; Natural Resources – the Key to Western Sahara’s Future, 19 March 2015

Thursday 19 March – Conference Dinner presentation

Tim Robertson, SC in his Conference Dinner presentation at the Melbourne conference Natural Resources – the Key to Western Sahara’s Future, 19 March 2015 argues that exploration and exploitation cannot be meaningfully separated in practice. He calls into question a crucial distinction in Hans Corell’s 2002 UN legal opinion on oil exploration licences in Western Sahara.
Accepting Robertson’s view would mean that no prospective activity licensed by Morocco can take place in the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara until a referendum of self-determination is held.
Conference Details:

Watch Tim’s speech on YouTube >>
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