domingo, 2 de novembro de 2008

BASF will not repeat importation of phosphate from Western Sahara

The Belgian branch of German chemical company BASF is not planning further imports from occupied Western Sahara.

Early in October, the branch of Western Sahara Resource Watch in Belgium discovered that a Belgian subsidiary of BASF had imported phosphates from occupied Western Sahara.

On 22nd of October, German former MEP Margot Kessler, together with Western Sahara Resource Watch, wrote to BASF, asking for a clarification regarding the imports of phosphates. The letter requested information on the scope of the BASF imports.

In a reply yesterday, the company confirmed having received this shipment, but said they do not expect further imports.

"For the time being, this was an isolated replacement delivery from this territory which we do not expect to be repeated in the future. ", wrote Mrs. Anne Forst from BASF sustainability center in a mail to WSRW.

"A part of BASF’s phosphate demand is covered by Moroccan phosphate delivered by Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP). OCP has been a reliable supplier of phosphate from mines in the Kingdom of Morocco for over 20 years. In spring 2008, OCP contacted us because of a supply shortage at the Moroccan mine from which BASF usually receives the phosphate. OCP offered a temporary replacement order with phosphate in an alternative quality from a different mine operated by OCP in the Western Sahara region, which we accepted", Forst wrote.

The BASF representative says that the OCP has assured in an "expert opinion" that the OCPs operations in Western Sahara are to be beneficial locally. OCP has been running operations in occupied Western Sahara since shortly after Moroccan forces moved into Western Sahara on November 6th 1975.

"OCP provided an expert opinion which was able to demonstrate to BASF that OCP’s operations in the Western Sahara are beneficial through job creation for the local people, investments in the local infrastructure, community engagement, and economic stimulus. We are fully confident that the operations of OCP at Boucraa and the purchase of the replacement delivery were consistent with international law.", Horst wrote.

Since taking over the plant in 1975, OCP has replaced most of the Sahrawi workers with Moroccan settlers, who have been moved into the territory in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

POLISARIO Front reiterates demand to include the protection of human rights in the mandate of the MINURSO

POLISARIO Front denounced the pursuit of the "flagrant human rights violations" committed by the Moroccan authorities in many regions of the occupied Western Sahara and in the south of Morocco.

In a letter he addressed to the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, POLISARIO Front Secretary General, Mohamed Abdelaziz, reiterated demand to "include the protection of human rights in the occupied territories of Western Sahara in the mandate of the MINURSO" (Mission of the UN for the Organisation of a Referendum in Western Sahara).

The letter informed the UN Secretary General of the latest developments in Assa and the victims of the Moroccan forces attack against Saharawi unemployed who were peacefully demanding their legitimate right to work.

POLISARIO Front called on the UN "to immediately intervene so as to protect the Saharawi citizens and guarantee their legitimate rights to the freedom of expression, demonstration and movement".

The text also demanded the release of all Saharawi political prisoners, underlining the need to draw the light on the fate of more than 500 disappeared and 151 Saharawi prisoners of conscience, and to implement the recommendations of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Violent confrontations took place last Monday 27 February 2008 in the city of Assa between the Moroccan colonial forces and peaceful Saharawi demonstrators who protested against the marginalisation and asked for legitimate rights to work and decent life.

Saharawi students and citizens joined force to face the Moroccan police violent intervention against peaceful unemployed who wanted to organsie a sit-in to demand the right to work.

The demonstrator lifted the flags of the Saharawi Republic and chanted slogans in favour of the independence of Western Sahara, and demanded the release of all Saharawi political prisoners from Moroccan jails.

Moroccan colonial forces, from different corpses of police and military forces, violently attacked the peaceful demonstrators. The reaction from the Saharawi population was quick. Roads were closed by tyres in fire and the Saharawi youth started resisting the attacks with stones.

The Moroccan authorities sent more forces from the neighbouring cities, and violently responded causing some injured and arresting others, while some Saharawi houses were stormed in by police and military agents.

According to a first list, the injured victims are: Khouah Lhayba, Mustapha Charkaoui, Lghali Chayn, Lmjakri Chrayaf, Lkntawya Banga, Souakh Brahim.

Others were arrested by the Moroccan forces, namely Abdaim Lmkhtar, Mohamed Lhchaychi, Jilali, Baldi Mohamed.

Many houses were ransacked by Moroccan forces and their furniture and goods stolen or damaged.

Demonstration in front of the Moroccan consulate in Las Palmas to demand the release of Saharawi prisoners of conscience

Demonstrators organised a rally in front of the Moroccan Consulate in Las Palmas (Canary Islands) to demand the "immediately and unconditionally release all the Saharawi prisoners of conscience", a source from the Saharawi representation in Madrid indicated.

Organised by the Canary Islands Association of support to the Saharawi people, the demonstration that took place on Thursday gathered many demonstrators lifting the Saharawi national flags and a placard that reads: "freedom for the Saharawi prisoners of conscience". They also chanted slogans in favour of the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination and independence.

The demonstrators handed over a letter protesting against the human rights violations committed by the Moroccan State against the Sahara people in the occupied zones and in the south of Morocco, but the employees of the consulate refused to receive it, the same source added.