Plunder of Western Sahara’s natural resources: NGOs demand UN urgent intervention

ALGIERS- In occupied Western Sahara, the plunder of this non autonomous territory’s natural resources reached an alarming stage in the last two years, say some 243 NGOs, including "Western Sahara Resource Watch" (WSRW) in a warning sent to the UN Secretary General.

In a letter sent on 15 April to President of the UN Security Council, Dina Kawar, Jordan's ambassador to the United Nations, the NGO WSRW warned against the plundering of Western Sahara's natural resources, particularly its mineral wealth.

''No oil drilling should be conducted in the territory as long as the Sahrawis have the chance to exercise their right to self-determination and decided freely and fairly about the political status of their country," warned the NGO in its appeal to the UN Security Council.

The conclusion of all the NGOs, which have condemned the looting of natural resources in Western Sahara by the occupying power, does not appear at this time to be "listened to by the UN, and less by the Western powers," say activists.

To confirm the fact of Western Sahara occupation, the Moroccan authorities have given oil exploration concessions to several foreign companies as part of a drilling program signed with ONHYM, the Moroccan mining research organization.

However, a legal advice of the UN released in January 2002, at the request of the Security Council concluded that "any oil exploration or exploitation in the non- autonomous territory of Western Sahara is in violation of the international law if it does not comply with the wishes and interests of the people of the territory."
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