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WSC Newsletter June 2020

Supermarkets continue mislabelling tomatoes | Latest news on corona in Western Sahara | New Zealand superannuation fund and ‘blood phosphate' | Kiwi importers ignore government advice on Western Sahara | P for Plunder | Bundestag Analysis of Morocco's settlement policy | UNSC’s faltering stance on self-determination in Western Sahara
Published: 08.06 - 2020 15:04 
Supermarkets Continue To Mislabel Tomatoes

Despite rulings in the CJEU and the English and Welsh Court supermarkets continue to source tomatoes from Dhakla, Western Sahara and to label them as Produce of Morocco so as to benefit from tax breaks. WSC has raised this with Trading Standards but they are unwilling to pursue the matter. We need more evidence that consumers are concerned.

Can you help?
When you are shopping look at the label on tomatoes. The different supermarkets source tomatoes from Western Sahara at different times of the year. If you see 'Moroccan tomatoes' ask their origin. You can ask Customer Services in store. Leave your name and address or e-mail and ask them to check with Head Office and to write to you. Alternatively you can contact Customer Services on line.

You can make the point that, as they may be aware, Morocco occupies part of Western Sahara. This raises a number of issues, humanitarian and legal.  Some products are actually produced in Western Sahara are incorrectly labelled "Moroccan" when they are sold in shops.
It is important to you to know whether Moroccan products are in fact Moroccan or actually from Western Sahara. Could they please let you know the precise origin of the tomatoes. It could help to attach a photo of the tomatoes.

We need statements from the supermarkets, particularly Asda, Aldi, Lidl, and Sainsbury.
Please send replies to (who you can also email for more information or help)

Follow the latest news on corona in Western Sahara
Both the occupied territories and the refugee camps are under lockdown. No cases of corona virus have been reported from the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria. On 1 May, the first cases were reported in Tindouf city, 8 kilometers from the Saharawi refugee camps. Patrols of the Saharawi army and civilians are making sure that traffic into Mauritania and Tindouf city is prevented, as well as between the five refugee camps. Schools, sports events, weddings etc in the camps have been stopped.  Airline departures domestically between the city of Tindouf and northern Algeria are cancelled. Six cases of corona were identified in the occupied part of Western Sahara, all six have recovered. End May, another three cases in the occupied territory tested positive

Read:Why the corona virus could strike the Saharawi hard.

Read regular updates by the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara.

West Saharan group takes New Zealand superannuation fund to court over ‘blood phosphate'
Ben Doherty, The Guardian, Monday 16 March 2020

The Western Sahara liberation movement has taken New Zealand’s superannuation fund to the country’s highest court over its investments in farms that use phosphate illegally mined in the occupied territory. (cont.)

Read: The Guardian article.

Kiwi importers ignore government advice on Western Sahara

While other companies internationally have managed to find alternative sources of phosphate - and in spite of a request of the New Zealand government that they do the same - the Kiwi fertilizer industry seems unwilling to drop its imports from occupied Western Sahara.

Read more here.

P for Plunder
WSRW has published its 2020 edition of the annual P for Plunder report, documenting Morocco’s trade of phosphate rock from occupied Western Sahara in 2019. The report demonstrated that the exports had halved from 2018 to 2019; 19 vessels exported a total volume of 1.03 million tonnes of phosphate, worth an estimated US $90.4 million, in 2019.
Over the last decade, dozens of companies have halted imports due to increasing pressure from investors over human rights concerns. Yet Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients persist, and were responsible for no less than a third of 2019's exports ending up in New Zealand.

Download the report here.

Research service of Bundestag analyses Morocco's settlement policy
An analysis of the legal aspects of the conflict in Western Sahara has led the research department of the German parliament to conclude that there are substantiated violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention by Morocco, that is to be considered an occupying power.

On 18 March 2019, the research service of the Bundestag issued a Status Report on the legal aspects of the conflict in Western Sahara.

The Status Report delves deep into two main issues: the legal status of Western Sahara under international law, and the application of International Criminal Law and International Humanitarian Law.

On the first issue - the legal status of the territory - the report concludes that Morocco is not to be considered as the administering power of Western Sahara, and that the notion ‘de-facto administering power’ is not meaningful in context of international law. Moreover, the report deduces that Western Sahara is under occupation and that “Morocco is to be considered the occupying power”.

In the second main part, the report concludes that Morocco's settlement policy in Western Sahara - described as the transfer of its own civilians into the territory as well as indirect measures in promotion thereof - substantiates a violation of the fourth Geneva Convention and of the Additional Protocol (I) to the Geneva Convention.

“While not a legal opinion, the Status Report certainly does capture the main legal aspects to the Western Sahara conflict”, says Tim Sauer from Western Sahara Resource Watch. "We sincerely hope companies will take due note of the report's conclusions that Morocco is occupying Western Sahara and that its policy of settling its own nationals in Western Sahara is a violation of international law. We cannot imagine any responsible businesses desiring an association with such practices".

Read a short summary of the report prepared by WSRW here.

Read a translation of the main part of the report here.

Read more here.

The UN Security Council’s faltering stance on self-determination in Western Sahara
Posted on Thursday June 4th, 2020
By Deich Mohamed Saleh الديش محمد الصالح /
Approximately twenty-nine years have been accumulated since the UN Peacekeeping has arrived the ground of Western Sahara for a specific mission, which is the supervision of a referendum of self-determination for the people of the territory. Such referendum has not yet seen light due to the UN Security Council’s lack of action, despite numerous resolutions of the UN and the OAU-AU and engagement of distinguished personalities. Unfortunately, the one who has been benefiting from the situation of procrastination is the Kingdom of Morocco, illegally occupying the territory, whereas the victim is the legitimate owner, the people of Western Sahara, who are fed up of long wait. The UN’s failure, more than fifty years, in the application of the legitimate right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination and independence left no doubt how the International Community’s action is controlled by interests and not by principles.

Read the full article here.



The Western Sahara Campaign works in solidarity with the Saharawi people to generate political support in order to advance their right to self-determination and to promote their human rights. Our role is to lobby the UK Government and the EU. You can help us to ensure the UK does not ignore the voice of the Saharawi people.



Follow the news about EU's illegal fisheries in Western Sahara

The EU pays Morocco to fish in occupied Western Sahara.