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Western Sahara

Regular readers will know that Polisario, the liberation movement for Western Sahara (illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975), managed to get a cargo ship full of phosphate rock (illegally mined in the territory) impounded by a court in South Africa last year.

We now know that the ship, the NM Cherry Blossom, will no longer carry phosphate from Western Sahara. Western Sahara Resource Watch calculates that the company that charters the ship lost £3.5m because of the year-long detention in South Africa. All exports to Latin America and Australia of Sahrawi phosphate have also stopped.

On 14 July, the Irish senate passed a ban on the import or export of all goods from or to Western Sahara, and other occupied territories.

Meanwhile, on 5 July, the European parliament voted down provisions that would have supported the cause of Western Sahara. The Greens had proposed: acting on the rulings of the EU court of justice on Western Sahara (voted down by three votes!) and pushing for the UN mission to Western Sahara to be given a human rights mandate (lost by 40 votes).

A third suggestion survived by two votes: to support UN efforts to secure a fair and lasting settlement of the Western Sahara conflict on the basis of the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination.

Topics: Western Sahara