Pressemelding, 29.06.07. Parlamentarikere fra Norge, Storbritannia, New Zealand og Japan sendte i morges et brev til Jebsen-rederiet Gearbulk. Selskapet profiterer på den marokkanske okkupasjonen av Vest-Sahara.
I går forlot det delvis norsk-eide fartøyet 'Bulk Saturn' newzealandsk farvann. Båten har fraktet fosfat fra marokkansk-okkuperte Vest-Sahara.
"Gearbulk samarbeider med en ulovlig okkupasjonsmakt, og bidrar dermed til å øke risikoen for økt væpnet konflikt, destabilisering og lidelse i Vest-Sahara", skriver brevet, som er signert av 12 parlamentarikere fra de fire landene. Se brevet i sin helhet under.
"Vi oppfordrer Gearbulk til å komme med en uttalelse så raskt som mulig, som klargjør at de ikke lenger vil transportere fosfat fra Vest-Sahara i framtiden", skriver parlamentarikerne.
Brevet er blant annet signert av politikere fra Ap, SV, Sp og V, nestleder av Greens i New Zealand, og en representant for Japans nest største parti og største opposisjonsparti.
David Drew i Labour, er skuffet over Jebsen-rederiet:
– Det må kastes lys over den utenlandske deltakelsen i ressursutbyttingen i Vest-Sahara, sier Drew. – Denne handelen underbygger en ulovlig okkupasjon og frarøver Vest-Saharas folk ressursene som er rettmessig deres. Det må taes til handling for å stoppe dette. Jeg er skuffet over at Gearbulk, er med på dette, sier han.
Greens i New Zealand har vært kjent med problematikken et helt år:
– Vi oppdaget Gearbulks transporter i fjor og tok opp saken i det newzealandske parlamentet. Dessverre er det ikke vilje i New Zealands regjering til å innføre sanksjoner mot denne handelen. Men all fornuft tilsier at dette må stoppe. Selskapene profiterer på et okkupert folks ressurser, sier Keith Locke, talsmann for utenrikspolitiske saker i Greens, New Zealand.
'Bulk Saturn' eies av det Bermuda-registrerte rederiet Gearbulk, som er 60% eid av Jebsen-familien i Bergen. De øvrige 40% eies av japanske Mitusi. Selskapet har hovedkontor i London.
For ytterligere kommentarer, kontakt Støttekomiteen for Vest-Sahara v/Eirik Kirkerud, tlf 90743766.
Mr. Kristian Jebsen, Gearbulk (UK) Ltd Agents for Gearbulk 5, The Heights Weybridge Surrey KT13 0NY United Kingdom
Open letter to Gearbulk
London, Oslo, Wellington, Tokyo, 29 June 2007 Regarding Gearbulk's phosphate shipment from occupied Western Sahara
Dear Mr. Jebsen, Chairman of Gearbulk,
This week we have been made aware of the fact that one of your vessels, 'Bulk Saturn', has arrived in New Zealand with phosphate from occupied Western Sahara. The vessel left New Zealand waters yesterday.
We would like to point your attention to the fact that Yara, the world's biggest fertiliser company, terminated the imports to Norway in 2005, for ethical reasons.
As you know, Morocco is an illegal occupying power in Western Sahara. This has been established by The International Court of Justice in The Hague in 1975, numerous resolutions of The United Nations Security Council and General Assembly and by the UN Under-Secretary General of Legal Affairs, Mr. Hans Corell (www.arso.org/Olaeng.pdf) in his letter to the President of the Security Council on 29 January 2002. The occupation of Western Sahara has resulted in enormous suffering and deprivation of the Sahrawi people, the rightful owners of the land and the natural resources of Western Sahara. Approximately 165,000 Sahrawis are languishing in refugee camps in the inhospitable Algerian desert since 1975. The Sahrawi population remaining in areas under Moroccan occupation is subjected to grave human rights violations, such as torture, forced disappearances and arbitrary detention. Most importantly, however, they have not been allowed to freely exercise their right to self-determination through a free, fair and transparent referendum. This right was established through UN General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) (1960).
As far as we can establish, your company has not consulted with the Sahrawi people or their internationally recognized representatives, the Polisario Front. It is therefore highly dubious that such a contract can be seen as being in accordance with international law, ref. the Corell opinion of 29 January 2002. Both the Western Sahara government in exile, and human rights activists in the occupied area, have repeatedly protested against the exploitation of the territory's natural resources.
In our view, the political and ethical implications are, however, more important than the legal ones. Please see the Norwegian Ministry of Finance for an elaborate opinion (and press release) on these matters.
Gearbulk is collaborating with Morocco, an illegal occupier. Negotiations are currently underway between the Polisario Front and Morocco in an attempt to resolve the future of Western Sahara. The continuation of phosphate shipments makes Morocco less inclined to negotiate seriously, and makes delaying tactics and attempting to profit from the existing situation (despite the suffering of the Saharawis that this entails) more attractive.
The phosphate trade in Western Sahara therefore increases the risk of further armed conflict, destabilisation and suffering in the region. This increased tension actively undermines the hard work of the United Nations to solve the conflict in Western Sahara. Gearbulk's cooperation with the Moroccan government in the phosphate exploitation clearly lends legitimacy to the illegal Moroccan occupation of the area.
The industry itself is not in accordance with the interests of the Sahrawis. According to a report written by the French organisation France Libertés -Fondation Danielle Mitterrand, the Sahrawis have been systematically marginalised from the phosphate industry in Western Sahara. In 1968, before Morocco took control over the phosphate mines, practically all 1600 workers in the industry were Sahrawis, according to the report. Today, 1800 of 2000 workers are Moroccan settlers.
We, the undersigned, hereby appeal to Gearbulk to demonstrate its attachment to International Legality, Human Rights and basic standards of Corporate Social Responsibility by reconsidering its involvement in shipping phosphate of Western Sahara origin.
We notice that Gearbulk over the last 15 months have made three shipments to New Zealand, and are concerned whether your company has a long term contract for the delivery of phosphates from the occupied area. We urge Gearbulk to come with a statement as quickly as possible, making it clear that your company intends to no longer ship phosphates from occupied Western Sahara in the future.
We will be more than happy to provide you with any additional information that you may require to study this matter more closely.
Any reply could be sent to the chairman of the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara, Mr. Ronny Hansen, at email@example.com.
Mr. David Drew, Parliamentarian, Labour Party, UK
Mr. John Grogan Parliamentarian, Labour Party, UK
Mr. Keith Locke, Parliamentarian, Green Party, New Zealand
Mr. Russel Norman Parliamentarian, Green Party, New Zealand
Ms. Eva Kristin Hansen Parliamentarian, Labour Party, Norway
Ms. Trine Skei Grande Parliamentarian, Liberal Party, Norway
Mr. Bjørn Jacobsen, Parliamentarian, Socialist Left Party, Norway
Mr. Hallgeir Langeland, Parliamentarian, Socialist Left Party, Norway
Mr. Alf Ivar Samuelsen, Parliamentarian, Centre Party, Norway
Mr. Ola Borten Moe, Parliamentarian, Centre Party, Norway
Mr. Erling Sande, Parliamentarian, Centre Party, Norway
Mr. Satsuki Eda Senator, Democratic Party of Japan
Copy: -Mitsui O.S.K. Lines -Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Skipsrederi A/S (KGJS) -Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs -UK Foreign Office -The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan -New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade -Mr. Sidi Mohammed Daddach, Rafto Laureate 2002.
Størstedelen av landet Vest-Sahara har vært okkupert av Marokko siden 1975. Siden da har flertallet av befolkningen bodd i flyktningleirer i Algerie. De som ble igjen i hjemlandet utsettes for alvorlige overgrep fra marokkanske okkupasjonsmyndigheter. I over 40 år har de ventet på at deres rett til selvbestemmelse skal innfris.