Up to 30 countries illegally invest in occupied Western Sahara

Paris,  Jan, 06 2021 (SPS)- – Up to thirty countries are illegally investing in the occupied Sahrawi territories in various sectors of activity, said a new report from the Franco-Sahrawi Center for Studies and Documentation, Ahmed Baba Miske, which added that investments in the occupied territories represent an illegal act.

Spain is the country that invests the most in Western Sahara with a total of 28 companies, followed by France (16) and Germany (15). Companies from distant countries such as Bangladesh, Singapore or New Zealand are also present in Western Sahara.

 Fishing and maritime transport are at the main sectors in which foreign companies operate in Western Sahara.

Foreign firms are also operating in the sectors of conventional and renewable energy, mining, mainly in phosphate mining, construction, finance and sport.

The report further said that nearly forty foreign companies have left Western Sahara recently.

Most of them, 19 companies, were extracting phosphate; a dozen were working in the energy sector while the rest of the companies were active in the sectors of finance, fishing, maritime delivery and mines.

Moreover, the Center said that the investments of foreign firms in the occupied Sahrawi territories "constitute flagrant violations of international law and crimes of colonization since (the companies) did not obtain the consent of Western Sahara population or its sole representative, defined by the UN as the Frente POLISARIO."

It also said that "since the departure of the colonial power, Spain in 1976, Western Sahara has been classified by the UN as a non-autonomous territory, and without administration."

In his 2002 opinion, UN legal adviser Hans Correl wrote that "on November 14, 1975, a Declaration of Principles on Western Sahara was signed in Madrid by Spain, Morocco and Mauritania (the Madrid Agreement). Under this declaration, the powers and responsibilities of Spain, as the administering power of the territory were transferred to a temporary tripartite administration.  The Madrid Agreement did not provide for a transfer of sovereignty over the territory, nor did it confer on any of the signatory parties the status of administering power, which Spain could not unilaterally transfer."

Besides, the rulings of the EU Court of Justice (European Union), and in particular that of February 27, 2018, reaffirmed the "separate and distinct" status of Western Sahara recognized by the UN (from that of the Kingdom of Morocco).

All these legal decisions and opinions remind us that these decisions are in accordance with the legal opinion of the African Union published in 2015, clarifying the legal status of the Sahrawi Republic and the Kingdom of Morocco.

They also recall that the Moroccan presence is an illegal military occupation and that, therefore, all the economic activities, whether carried out by the Kingdom of Morocco or by a third party, violate international law," explained the Center.SPS