3 Representatives of the students of RCNUWC, including a Saharawi student, also animated conferences in many schools in Oslo to talk about the Moroccan human rights violations in the occupied territories of Western Sahara, and its illegal exploitation of the Saharawi mineral rich territory.
Opened in 1995, the Red Cross Nordic UWC is the United World College in the Nordic region. Sponsored by Nordic governments and the Red Cross, the College focuses on the promotion of humanitarian, environmental, Nordic values and concerns.
The college is located in the beautiful fjord region of western Norway. It has 200 students, aged 16-19, all selected on merit from over 80 countries.
Here is the letter:
CEO, Hans Ivar Meyer
Withdraw from the Occupied Areas of Western-Sahara!
Flekke, 20th of January, 2008
We, the students of Red Cross Nordic United World College, decided to write this open letter to Fugro-Geoteam. Our school is an international school with students from 80 different countries, including Saharawi Arabic Democratic Republic. We would like to express our disappointment towards Fugro-Geoteam and demand that the company immediately withdraw their vessel “Geo Caribbean” from the occupied waters in Western Sahara.
Western Sahara is today the last unresolved colonial issue. The area is a former Spanish colony and was relinquished in 1975 with a promise that a referendum on self determination for the Saharawi people would be held. That promise was not kept. Instead Morocco invaded the territory of Western Sahara, forcing the Saharawi people to flee from their homeland. Many of the Saharawi were killed, wounded and disappeared in the desert because of this brutal invasion. Today many Saharawis are living in refugee camps in the Sahara Desert in the southern parts of Algeria. This is one of the world’s most inhospitable places.
On the 27th of February 1976, Polisario Front, recognised by the UN as the only representative body of the Saharawi people, declared the Saharawi Arabic Democratic Republic (SADR). Today SADR is recognized by more than 70 countries all over the world.
The fact that Fugro-Geoteam is searching for oil off the shores of occupied Western Sahara is against all international law. According to the resolution adopted by the Security Council from 2002, it is illegal for an occupying power to exploit the resources of a Non-Self-Governing Territory without the consent of its people. Polisario has also considered the Moroccan oil search beginning in 2001 as a violation of the Morocco-Polisario agreements from 1991.
After it was revealed in 2005 that the American company called Kerr McGee, which Norway had invested money in, had been searching for oil off the shores of Western Sahara, Norway withdrew its investments. Per Kristian Foss, who at that time was the financial minister in Norway, stated that Kerr McGee’s actions were a severe violation of fundamental ethical norms. It is therefore especially disappointing to see that a new, Norwegian company is involved in this kind of trade.
The students of Red Cross Nordic United World College therefore demand that Fugro- Geoteam immediately stop searching for oil and withdraw from Western-Sahara.
The students of Red Cross Nordic United World College.