9 December 2012

Morocco: WSRW Asks Total to Reconsider Its Licence in Occupied Western Sahara

London — Western Sahara Resource Watch appealed Saturday to the French corporation TOTAL to reconsider signing a contract with Morocco involving oil exploration activities in the occupied Saharawi territories.

In a letter sent to TOTAL, Western Sahara Resource Watch Chair Mr. Erik Hagen voiced "high concern" over the renewal of TOTAL's exploration licence in occupied Western Sahara.

"As you know, a part of Western Sahara is illegally occupied by Morocco. The territory is treated by the UN as a so-called Non-Self-Governing Territory, and the UN is working for its decolonization," wrote Mr. Hagen.

He added that the Saharawi people's right to self-determination has been recalled in over 100 UN resolutions, considering that in this context that the operations undertaken since 2001 are in disregard of the interests and aspirations of the people of Western Sahara, and are a "violation of the principles of international law".

WSRW indicated "Total's decision to enter into an oil agreement with an occupying power on a territory that is occupied by force is ethically wrong", recalling in this respect that some of the Saharawi activists who protested Morocco's illegal plunder of the natural resources of Western Sahara are for instance in jail.

"WSRW believes that signing such an agreement is a direct violation of the Saharawi people's right to self-determination. The Saharawi people have the sovereignty over their own natural resources - not Morocco," stated the letter.

"As such, since the right to self-determination is a basic human right, we find your operations to be in clear contradiction to the recent UN Guiding Principles on Businesses and Human Rights," concluded WSRW.

Copyright © 2012 Sahara Press Service. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.