On September 29, the General Court of the European Union issued a landmark ruling, one of significant importance in international law for Western Sahara. Western Sahara is Africa’s last colony, occupied illegally by Morocco since 1975, and even in the face of a UN administered self-determination referendum agreed upon in 1991. New Zealand is a large-scale importer of high-quality phosphate rock from Western Sahara. In 2017-18, the High Court of South Africa noted that the Saharawi people are the rightful owner of the resource.
Today, the EU Court of Justice has struck a blow to the EU’s practice of applying trade and fisheries agreements with Morocco to occupied Western Sahara.
The press release from the Court today specifically states that Polisario is able to represent the Saharawi people before European courts.
The right of the Saharawi people to consent has not been respected, the court stated. It states that the Union could not have replaced the “consent” of the Saharawi people with the argument of “benefits”.
On 4 March 2021 Western Sahara supporters in New Zealand celebrated the launch of the Western Sahara New Zealand campaign and website.
An online live-streamed panel discussed New Zealand’s role in Western Sahara
The panel included:
Mr. Kamel Fadel: Polisario Representative for Australia & New Zealand
Ms. Louisa Wall, Labour MP
Ms. Golriz Ghahraman, Green MP
• The Panel discussion was facilitated by Otepoti-based artist: Mr. Matthew Galloway
Western Sahara Campaign NZ
The recently established Western Sahara Campaign NZ is a nationwide network of people committed to supporting and advocating for the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination. Website Facebook
The Western Sahara liberation movement has taken New Zealand’s superannuation fund to the country’s highest court over its investments in farms that use phosphate illegally mined in the occupied territory. (cont.)
Morocco dominates phosphate fertilisers thanks to its disputed control of Western Sahara Matt Davies, BBC Sounds podcast: Business Daily. 31 Dec 2019
Matt Davies travels to Morocco to speak to Nada Elmajdoub, an executive at the national phosphate company OCP. He also hears from Mohamed Kamal Fadel, a spokesperson for the Polisario Front, which is bringing legal challenges against Morocco’s phosphate exports in its bid to win independence for Western Sahara; Professor Stuart White of the University of Technology Sydney questions the sustainability of the planet’s usage of mined phosphates to boost crop yields, plus Stephen Zunes, a professor of Middle East politics at the University of San Francisco, explains the history of the Western Sahara conflict and how Morocco gained the upper hand.
Refugees from Western Sahara are encouraging the New Zealand Government to stop two New Zealand companies importing phosphate from disputed land. NZ’s Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ spokesperson Mark Wynne told 1 NEWS, “I think it’s fine, there’s a United Nations framework in place for purchasing product out of disputed territories and we comply 100 per cent with that.” But human rights lawyer Craig Tuck strongly disagreed. (cont.)
Hawkes Bay Today New Zealand Herald, Opinion, 26 August 2019
By: Kamal Fadel
A vessel named Amoy Dream carrying about 55,000 tonnes of phosphate rock from Western Sahara is expected to arrive at Napier Port today.
Seventy per cent of all New Zealand’s phosphate comes from Western Sahara, occupied by Morocco since 1975. It has, since then, been a shameful blot on the landscape of global justice and human rights.
Legal opinion is mounting that Morocco’s exploitation of Sahrawi resources, and the subsequent import of those resources, is illegal. (cont.)
A Western Saharawi protester calls on PM Jacinda Ardern to intercede over phosphate exports
Gerard Hutching Mar 11 2019
Western Saharawi freedom fighters have called on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to urge New Zealand fertiliser companies to stop importing phosphate from the Western Sahara.
The territory where the phosphate comes from is in dispute, with the Western Saharawis battling for an independent state.
Lesley Osborne, Professor Damien Kingsbury, Kamal Fadel, Polisario Representative, ALP Conference, Dec 2018
The Australian Labor Party National Conference held in Adelaide on 16-18 December 2018 adopted a positive resolution on the question of Western Sahara urging the UN to proceed without further delay with the organisation of the referendum of self-determination and to press Morocco to implement all UN resolutions pertaining to Western Sahara and calling on the Australian Government to ensure Australian companies have regard to international law regarding the importation of resources and products from the occupied areas of Western Sahara until the legal status of the Territory is determined and the Saharawi people are allowed to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination in accordance with relevant UN resolutions and Peace Plan of 1991.
Text of the Resolution:
Australian Labor Party Resolution on Western Sahara
Adopted by the National Conference on 18 December 2018 in Adelaide Continue reading →
By Peter Kenworthy Pambazuka News, Voices for Freedom and Justice, Oct 08, 2018
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke of human rights and international cooperation when she addressed the United Nations in September.
But what will she do about the fact that two New Zealand companies are the last buyers of phosphate rock from occupied Western Sahara? Read article from Pambazuka News >