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This latest move by the occupying power Morocco is in violation of the international law principles applicable to mineral resource activities in Western Sahara, which is Non-Self-Governing Territory.

Following the signature by Glencore Xstrata (an Oil company registered in Switzerland) with Morocco of two agreements of Oil prospection in the region of “foum Oughnit” South-West the Capital of the occupied Western Sahara, the OSNR strongly condemns the conclusion of such an illegal and immoral agreement that violates the international law relative to Non-Self-Governing and colonized countries still in the UN List of Decolonisation.

OSNR recalls in this respect the legal opinion of the International Court of Justice of 1975, which clearly postulated that Morocco has no sovereignty over the occupied Western Sahara. It also recalls that the only status Morocco has in this territory is that of an “Occupying Power” according to the UN General Assembly’s resolution 34/39 of 1979.

OSNR also recalls the Legal Opinion of Mr. hans Corell, the Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs issued following the Security Council’s request in 29 January 2002, concluding that “if further exploration and exploitation activities were to proceed in disregard of the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara, they would be in violation of the international law principles applicable to mineral resource activities in Non-Self-Governing Territories.”

OSNR further recalls the latest report of the UN Secretary General issued last April 2014 which stated that: “In the light of increased interest in the natural resources of Western Sahara, it is timely to call upon all relevant actors to “recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount”, in accordance with Chapter XI, Article 73 of the Charter”.

On another hand, OSNR draws Glencore Xstrata attention to the Saharawi Republic’s Law (SADR) n: 03/2009, issued in January 21st 2009 related to the Demarcation of SADR’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). SADR as it is well known is a full-fledged Founding member of the African Union also recognized by countries from Latin America and Asia. This mentioned Law indicates that the Saharawi EEZ extends to a distance of 200 nautical miles (370 km) offshore the coastal expansion of the internationally recognized borders of Western Sahara according to the relevant International Law. Therefore, any economic activity undertaken within this area without the formal consent and agreement of the Saharawi Republic’s relevant authorities is a blatant violation of the international law, a violation of the Saharawi people’s right over their resources and sovereignty over their land, and a shameful support to the force of occupation in its colonization of the territory.

OSNR would finally like to recall Glencore Xstrata that the Saharawi people didn’t determine the final political status of their country yet and are still maintained under tight control by the Moroccan authorities, suffering from oppression human rights violations and military occupation. Meanwhile, half of this nation is living since 1975 in the Saharawi refugee camps, in the South-West Algeria, thanks to international humanitarian aid, and totally deprived of any sort of benefits from their natural resources. Hence, “by exploiting Saharawi resources Glencore Xstrata would simply undertake a blatant act of vandalism and theft of Saharawi resources in complicity with a violent force of occupation, the Moroccan”.

For further contact:
Malainin Mohamed (Lakhal)
- Freelance Journalist and Translator
- Member of the Saharawi Natural Resource Watch (SNRW)