Thursday, July 23, 2009

Latest from Western Sahara

The article below is from the newsletter of the Western Sahara Campaign UK. As readers may or may not know, Morocco occupies the Western Sahara, against the wishes of its native Saharawi people. Although it is a similar situation to Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories, the British left has much much less to say on the subject ...

POLISARIO protests to the UN

In defiance of the ongoing peace process, Morocco is speeding up its plans for illegal oil search in occupied Western Sahara. This provocation has led POLISARIO to protest to the UN Security Council.

In his letter Ahmed Boukhari, of the POLISARIO Front, drew attention to "the agreement between Morocco’s state-owned Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) and the Irish-based Island Oil and Gas plc and San Leon Energy Ltd to upgrade pre-existing reconnaissance licences into full exploration licences, located in the Zag Basin and Tarfaya areas. Both licence areas lie inside the territory of Western Sahara.

"In accordance with General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), . . . the natural resources of the Western Sahara are the heritage of the Saharawi people. . . .

Activities which deprive the Saharawi people of the right to enjoy and benefit from the exploitation of those resources are in contravention of international law.

"It is the responsibility of the Security Council and the Members of the United Nations to restore respect for international law. In this regard, I recall General Assembly Resolution 63/102, which calls on Member States to take “legislative, administrative or other measures in respect of their nationals and the bodies corporate under their jurisdiction that own and operate enterprises in the Non-Self-Governing Territories that are detrimental to the interests of the inhabitants of those Territories, in order to put an end to those enterprises.”

"In the interests of bringing this long-standing dispute towards a peaceful solution, the Security Council must call a halt to the illegal plunder of the natural resources belonging to the people of Western Sahara."

To see the full text of the letter, click here