Sahara Press Service (El Aaiun)

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.

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