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Western Sahara

More than 7,000 people marched for a free Western Sahara in an annual march in Madrid on 17 November.

While Western Sahara continues to be illegally occupied by neighbouring Morocco, it is illegal to extract resources from the territory (because there cannot be consent from the Saharawi people).

Irish/UK oil company San Leon Energy, registered on the Alternative Investment Market in London, is the only company to have drilled onshore for oil in Western Sahara during 43 years of Moroccan occupation.

On 24 October, Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), an Irish NGO, formally complained to the OECD, a body of 34 rich nations, that San Leon had violated OECD guidelines on conflict minerals.

Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) reports that GLAN’s complaint is supported by Polisario Front – the international representative of the Saharawi people – as well as three civil society organisations in Western Sahara.

l On 22 November, WSRW made a freedom of information request to the EU council, asking for the council’s legal opinions on proposed trade and fisheries agreements with Morocco which include Saharawi resources.

A 2006 EU legal opinion on the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement was later found to be invalid by the European court of justice.


Topics: Western Sahara