The firm FMC Foret, based in the southern Spanish town of Huelva, illegally imports around 500.000 tones of phosphates every year from the Western Sahara, according to the Western Sahara Resources Watch and the Madrid Association of Friends of the Sahrawi People.
Both organisations got these data by studying the list of shipments and the consultations made in the harbour of Huelva. As a result, they announced that two ships, owned by the company Ership S.A., are the most frequent transporters of the illegal phosphates from the port of El Aaiun (Western Sahara) to to the docks of the Huelva- based company. They are the "Sac Flix" with a capacity of 16.000 tonnes and the "Sac Málaga" with a capacity of 30.000 tones.
Both associations supporting the Western Sahara hold that the imports from this African region are "absolutely illegal and violate the International Law", because the natural resources from this zone are not property of Morocco, "occupying power of the Territory", but rather they are natural resources of a territory that is "illegally occupied".
Western Sahara Resource Watch and the Madrid Association of Friends of the Sahrawi People emphasised that the under-General Secretary and Legal Counsel of United Nations, Hans Corell, in January 2002, made public the UN's rejection and condemnation of the exploitation of the natural resources or any other economic activity damaging the interests of Western Sahara and depriving them of their legitimate rights to their natural resources.
In the same sense, the organisations explained that according to the words of Corell, "if further exploration and exploitation activities were to proceed in disregard of the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara, they would be in violation of the international law principles applicable to mineral resource activities in Non-Self-Governing Territories."
[Translated from Spanish by Western Sahara Resource Watch]
Since 1975, three quarters of the territory of Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco. A majority of the population is still living in refugee camps in Algeria. Those who remained in their homeland are subjected to serious harassment from the Moroccan occupiers. For more than 40 years the Sahrawis have been waiting for the fullfilment of their legitimate right to self-determination.
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