Bermuda shipping company drops Western Sahara

Western Sahara Resource Watch

Golden Ocean regrets shipment of phosphates from Western Sahara and changes future contracts to avoid new transports from the occupied territory.Above: Screenshot from

On 30 August 2017, Golden Ocean’s vessel Golden Keen left the El Aaiún harbour in the occupied Western Sahara with a cargo of approximately 79.000 tonnes of phosphate rock, destined for the port of Baton Rouge, where it arrived on 14 September. The rock was exported by the Moroccan state-owned company OCP which operates a mine in the part of Western Sahara that Morocco holds under illegal occupation.

The owner of the vessel, Golden Ocean Management AS, is based in Bermuda, and registered on NASDAQ and in Oslo.

“We now have a policy that we exclude Western Sahara for new charter contracts», CEO of Global Ocean, Birgitte Ringstad Vartdal told one of the largest online newspapers in Norway, Dagbladet, today.  Read more

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Saharan Youth and Minors detained and tortured

In the night of Saturday to Sunday after a demonstration of young Sahrawis with dozens of protesters in the city of El Aaiun in a non violent protest against the Moroccan occupation and the social, economic and political apartheid lived in the occupied territories ten students were arrested .

The occupation forces invested against the demonstrators and detained the young.

The students were abducted to an unknown location and the authorities neither informed the families nor where they were allowed to have the presence of lawyers after their arbitrary detention.

According to the report of the Network Activists News, authorities released on Monday 26 February, Mohammed al-Marwani, when his health condition deteriorated due to torture.

On Tuesday 27 February, the Saharawi students were presented to the court in El Aaiun. The surrounding courtyards were heavily guarded and under siege, no one could enter the courtroom. Families were not allowed to see their children. Read more

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ECJ – EU / Morocco Fisheries Agreement does not cover the territory of Western Sahara and adjacent waters

In a statement issued today by the European Court of Justice on the Judgment in Case C-266/16, it is stated that the European Court of Justice reaffirms that Western Sahara and adjacent waters are not part of the Moroccan Territory meaning that the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement is only applicable to the legitimate territory of Morocco and NOT THE TERRITORY OF WESTERN SAHARA AND ITS ADJACENT WATERS.

The EU / Morocco Fisheries Agreement is valid since it refers only to the Moroccan territory, any act of fishing that is outside this territory and is located in Western Sahara and its waters is therefore ILLEGAL.

In the statement can be read:

“In that regard, the Court notes, first of all, that the Fisheries Agreement is applicable to the “territory of Morocco”, an expression equivalent to the concept of “territory of the Kingdom of Morocco” in the Association Agreement. As the Court has previously held in its judgment of 21 December 2016, that concept itself refers to the geographical area over which the Kingdom of Morocco exercises its sovereign powers under international law, to the exclusion of any other territory, such as that of Western Sahara. In those circumstances, if the territory of Western Sahara were to be included within the scope of the Fisheries Agreement, that would be contrary to certain rules of general international law that are applicable in relations between the EU and Kingdom of Morocco, inter alia the principle of self-determination.” Read more

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SADR – A young state with a future

On 27 February 2018 the 42nd anniversary of the birth of the Sahrawi Democratic Arab Republic is celebrated. The Saharawi people have created their homeland based on a millennial identity, transforming itself at that moment into what is required in a modern world, an administrative organization in the form of a state in accordance with the standards and norms created by this “civilized” world.

This state was born of the will of men and women who with the leadership of Mustafa El Uali were able to visualize a dream they wanted to transform into reality. Achieving this dream has been difficult and many are the victims and heroes who have fallen in the way. The Moroccan occupant demonstrates from the first minute fierce violence against a people who have resisted and will resist because they defend that of what they are the rightful owner, their homeland.

With extraordinary resilience, strength and intelligence, the Sahrawi build day by day a state that can teach much to a world so “civilized”, a population that, despite the infrahuman conditions imposed by forced exile, on the one hand, and the occupation of its territory on the other hand, has all the characteristics of a modern state, with 100% schooling of all children, 95% adult literacy, an exemplary distribution of food aid, which comes in smaller and smaller quantities , equitably, an unprecedented participation in North Africa of women in all executive bodies and public structures in all professions, including doctors, teachers and television operators. Read more

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South African High Court returns stolen phosphates to the Polisario Front

The High Court of South Africa published the ruling today on the cargo of phosphates transported on the ship “NM Cherry Blossom” which it transported from the occupied territories of Western Sahara.

The cargo sold by OCS and Phosphates of Bucraa SA, Moroccan state-owned companies that illegally exploit phosphates from the occupied territories of Western Sahara to two companies (Australian and New Zealand).

The vessel carrying 55,000 tonnes of phosphate was detained on 1 May 2017 when it landed at Port Elisabeth in South Africa.

By a decision issued on 23 February, the High Court of South Africa concluded that: (1) SADR “is the owner of all phosphate cargo currently loaded on the vessel NM Cherry Blossom” and (2) “ownership of the phosphate was never legally invested “in Moroccan state-owned companies OCP SA and, Phosphates de Boucraa, SA” and they were not entitled to sell phosphate to “Ballance Agri-Nutrients Ltd.” Read more

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Naama Asfari in isolation announces unlimited hunger strike

Press release

“Better to die for dignity than to live without it”

– After a week of solitary confinement and a warning strike on February 12 and 13, 2018, strike for which the prison administration refused to give me a receipt of strike as declaration,

– After the irresponsible reaction of the director of the penitentiary institution transferring me to a cell of isolation and depriving me of all fundamental rights, with false and absurd arguments that show the pressure and blackmail exerted against me from the first day by the director of this prison ,

– And because of the persistence of this blackmail and the lack of response from the Central Administration on my first request to be transferred to one of the cities of Western Sahara and to open a serious dialogue about my legitimate claims:

I announce that I will start an unlimited hunger strike starting on February 27, 2018.

The strike will take place after having tried, by all means, to alleviate the suffering of my brothers from the group of Gdeim Izik that were separated and dispersed for more than 6 months, now in several prisons, after the unjust sentences that were imposed us due simply because we are activists of freedom and self-determination of the Saharawi people. Read more

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Gdeim Izik – Mohamed Ayoubi has passed away

Mohamed Ayoubi, political prisoner of Gdeim Izik on parole, died today in El Aaiun, the first mortal victim of this group of Saharawi national heroes, unjustly condemned by the occupying regime to 20 years toile in prison. Morocco is responsible for this death one more in a long history of assassinations, torture, forced disappearances, bombing, the slow genocide of the Saharawi people will only end on the day that Morocco leaves the occupied territories and the international community assumes its responsibility.

Ayoubi who was detained by the Moroccan occupation authorities during the dismantling of Gdeim Izik on 8 November 2010, a victim of rape and physical and psychological torture for several days at both the headquarters of the Gendarmerie and the police station in El Aaiun, Western Sahara, was transferred with several detainees from the Gdeim Izik group on 11 November 2010 to Salé Rabat in the Kingdom of Morocco.

Due to the torture he suffered, he had to stay in a wheelchair during his time of detention in Salé 2 until 12 January 2011 when he was transferred to the Souissi Rabat hospital where he was hospitalized until 28 February 2011.

On returning to prison he could walk but due to torture and his condition of diabetic and kidney problems continued with serious health problems and without the necessary medical care.

On 31 October 2011, all prisoners of Gdeim Izik started a hunger strike that lasted more than a month. On 2 December 2011 the Moroccan Human Rights Council negotiated with the strikers the release of Mohamed Ayoubi who was one of the main demands due to his extremely serious health condition. Read more

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Unemployed Saharawi protest in chains

In a symbolic stand, the Saharawi unemployed young men placed themselves in a row chained to each other in front of the employment office in El Aaiun city, this Monday 19th of February.

The protesters showed in this way their resolve to continue to demand thrir right to employment and against the discrimination they suffer in the occupied territories, where the Moroccan settlers occupy almost all available employment.

A clear apartheid strategy of the Moroccan Authorities.

Hand in hand, like one body, against the oppression, discrimination and illegal occupation these young saharawi protesters are living proof that the agreements between the European Union and Morroco do not benefit the saharawi population. Read more

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Report on the situation of the families of Saharawi political prisoners

In a report based on data collected over the last five years, the observer Isabel Lourenço, Human Rights Activist, Member of Fundación Sahara Occidental, Collaborator of, denounces the seriousness of the situation experienced by the families of Saharawi political prisoners.

The information collected from families in the occupied territories and the kingdom of Morocco during the trials in Rabat, Salé, Agadir and Marrakech shows not only the economic, social and psychological difficulties affecting the families of prisoners.

The long distances that have to be traveled by the families who have to travel over 1200km to then see sometimes the visit prevented arbitrarily. Read more

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Statemente by Swedish Minister for Rural Affairs on the occasion of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership

Statement by the Minister for Rural Affairs Sven-Erik Bucht on the occasion of the EU Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Morocco

Sweden announced to Coreper on February 14 that Sweden intends to vote NO to give the EU commission a mandate to open negotiations on a new protocol to the EU Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Morocco.

This is because Sweden considers that the proposed mandate does not meet the requirements of international law. The position is identical to previous Swedish standing in the matter. Sweden also voted in 2012 not to give the European Commission a negotiating mandate for a new protocol. Read more

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Political prisoner Naama Asfari in isolation

According to information from the family, the El Arjat Prison administration placed the political prisoner of Gdeim Izik group, Naama Asfari in isolation in a small cell, known as a coffin.

The brother of Naama Asfari was prevented today from visiting his brother under the pretext of the absence of the director of the prison.

Khadad Asfari has confirmed that Naama has been in solitary confinement for more than 36 hours and calls for the support of all human rights activists and ngo. Read more

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