AWSA welcomes the decision of the Swedish Fund Öhman to divest from Wesfarmers

Press Release, 01 February 2008
Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA)

 The Australia Wester Sahara Association  (AWSA) applauds the decision of Öhman Funds from  Sweden to divest from  the Australian phosphate company CSBP (Wesfarmers) due to its imports of  phosphate rock from the occupied Western  Sahara. According to the Swedish bank Öhman Funds  which decided in December 2007 to divest from CSBP (Wesfarmers), its  decision is due to the “violation of central UN resolutions and  other international regulations” by the Australian company. 

The decision of Öhman comes after a similar decision by the Norwegian insurance company KPA, which decided in December 2007 to divest from Wesfarmers because of its import of phosphates from the occupied Western Sahara, which goes against the ethical policy of the Norwegian company:  

The involvement of the Australian  companies, (Wesfarmers, Incitec Pivot and Impact Fertilisers), in Western  Sahara is harming Australia’s reputation in the world , and is in spite of several appeals by AWSA  during the past two years to reconsider their position towards  dealing in the stolen goods of Western  Sahara.

According to Human Rights Watch:,  Morocco continues to violate human rights in Western Sahara. Amnesty International has also condemned  Morocco’s abuse  of human rights in Western Sahara: .  The UN has said that the exploitation of the  resources of the Territory against the wishes of its indigenous  people is illegal:  

It is clear that the UN has stated that the exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara is illegal. It is also evident that international human rights organisations have confirmed the violations of human rights by Morocco in the occupied areas where phosphates are mined. It is also likely that those who benefit from the sale of the phosphate are the King, his cronies and the Moroccan army Generals.

AWSA urges shareholders to influence CSBP (Wesfarmers), Incitec Pivot and Impact Fertilisers to stop their importation of phosphates from Western Sahara. The Australian public has also a duty as they consume food that is produced by phosphates imported from Western Sahara. The Australian companies’ ethical, legal and moral policies are being compromised because of the involvement of the companies in Western Sahara.

AWSA calls on the Australian Labor Government to do the right thing and take a positive and courageous stance in asking the Australian companies put an end to their trade in the resources of an illegally occupied territory, Western Sahara, where basic human rights are violated by the brutal regime of Morocco. The involvement  of Australian companies in Western Sahara is not only causing  further suffering to the Saharawi people but is also damaging  Australia’s reputation and standing in the international arena.  

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To contact AWSA:

Phone: Cate Lewis: 0407 288 358 or Georgia Vlassopoulos: 0425702975

Email: [email protected]