Greens call on Australian companies to cut ties with occupiers of Western Sahara

Media Release, Senator Scott Ludlam, Wednesday May 18th, 2011

The Australian Greens have called on Australian companies to sever all ties with Moroccan firms involved in the occupation of Western Sahara.

The Greens justice spokesperson, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, said the African Union and more than 80 governments around the world refuse to recognise the Moroccan conquest of Western Sahara and Australian companies should withdraw from deals with the occupation forces.

“Morocco’s army rolled into Western Sahara in 1975 after the Spanish withdrew. Since then, the vast majority of the country has been subject to a brutal occupation,” he said. “No Australian company should be doing business with organisations profiting from this manifestly unjust state of affairs.”

“Moroccan state company OCP is mining phosphate in Western Sahara and selling it to CSBP Fertilisers, a Kwinana-based subsidiary of Wesfarmers. OCP is essentially stealing from Western Sahara and profiting from the brutality of the military occupation – do Australian companies really want to support this?”

Senator Ludlam has requested a meeting with Wesfarmers executive general manager Alan Carpenter to discuss the need for the company to drop its ties with the occupation of Western Sahara as soon as possible.

“The Moroccan government needs to be reminded again and again that the occupation will not be tolerated. Doing business with one of the state companies actively exploiting the occupied land is essentially endorsing the illegal, repressive and violent conquest of Western Sahara.”

Sahrawi woman Aicha Dahane, sister of human rights activist Brahim Dahane, fled Western Sahara in 2002 after enduring harassment from Moroccan police. She is now International Officer for the Forum for the Future of Sahrawi Women and will be speaking in tomorrow, Thursday May 19th, at 6.30pm at the Reception Room of Fremantle Town Hall, Western Australia.

Media Contact:  Giovanni Torre  –  0417 174 302