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Greenpeace: Mercadona is one of the worst firms of 2011
Jueves, 02 de Febrero de 2012 12:03
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Timofe Belov,

The organization Greenpeace has chosen the firm Mercadona as one of the worst firms of 2011 due to the fact that this company has taken advantage of the resources of Western Sahara, occupied by Morocco, and in acquiring 30 million tins of sardines, Mercadona has been supporting the occupation and thereby the ensuing oppressive rule by Morocco.

Mercadona "acquires 30 million tones of sardines from occupied Western Sahara, supporting in this way the Moroccan oppression" were the words of the NGO Greenpeace, which singled out Mercadona as one of the 40 worst firms of the year 2011.

The campaign was promoted by Western Sahara Resource Watch, Sahara Thawra, Plataforma de Apoyo Político al Pueblo Saharaui and Liga de Estudiantes Saharauis en España. Greenpeace has organized the Public Eye Awards every year since the year 2000, in which the prestigious international Non Government Organization chooses to name and shame in public those firms which have demonstrated in its view the worst ethical, social or environmental behaviour.

The firms named and shamed in the Public Eye Awards are characterized as having committed "conditions of exploitation in work conditions, environmental sins, purposeful disinformation or other omissions of its corporative social responsibility".

This year, Greenpeace has included Mercadona in its "prestigious" hall of infamy, part of the forty worst companies of 2011, due to the persistence of this company to continue acquiring from Jealsa - Rianxeira over thirty million tins of sardines from Western Sahara through its contract with Escuris. Finally, this strategy has produced consequences, namely becoming part of the forty worst firms of the year for Greenpeace.


UN envoy Christopher Ross on Western Sahara
Martes, 31 de Enero de 2012 10:23
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Interview with Christopher Ross, Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara

25 January 2012 – In January 2009 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Christopher Ross as his Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, a territory that has been under dispute for several decades. Fighting erupted there in 1976 between Morocco and the Polisario Front following the Spanish colonial administration’s withdrawal. The violence quickly drove hundreds of thousands of Saharawi refugees to flee across the border and into neighbouring Algeria, where they remain to this day.

Almost two decades later, the violence has subsided but both parties are still at odds despite ongoing UN-mediated talks. While Morocco supports autonomy for the Saharawis, the Polisario Front says the territory’s final status should be decided in an independence referendum.

Mr. Ross, a former United States diplomat with a long and distinguished career, says in the interview that it is high-time to end the Western Sahara conflict and the human tragedy that it has engendered.

UN News Centre: What is the conflict in the Western Sahara all about?

Christopher Ross: Well, as you know the Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony, roughly the size of Great Britain but with a population of just a few hundred thousand. Its legal status has been in dispute since well before the Spanish withdrawal in 1975-76. The parties to this dispute currently are the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front. Morocco, which has controlled most of Western Sahara since the 1970s, insists that the Western Sahara must become an autonomous part of Morocco on the basis of negotiations with the Polisario and a yes/no referendum.

The Polisario, for its part, argues that the people of Western Sahara must be free to choose their own future through a referendum that includes the option of independence. From 1975 to 1991 there were open hostilities between these two parties, heavy fighting, but in 1991 a ceasefire was implemented as part of a UN-led settlement effort. It should be noted that while this is no longer a fighting war, it is still a tense and dangerous situation. The UN continues to work to encourage a settlement and to improve the well-being of the people whose lives have been tragically affected.

UN News Centre: So, what is the UN doing?


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Prisoners in the desert: Kaisa Viitanen
Lunes, 30 de Enero de 2012 10:19
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Aavikon vangit

King of Morocco to be biggest benefactor of EU trade agreement
Lunes, 30 de Enero de 2012 09:02
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A new EU trade agreement that is set to boost the personal fortune of King Mohamed VI of Morocco is facing opposition because it promotes the exploitation of disputed territory of the Western Sahara. By Fiona Govan, Madrid (29 Jan 2012)

The European Parliament's committee for International Trade last week gave the green light to a new agriculture agreement that will ease restrictions on the importation of fruit and vegetables from Morocco.

But it has emerged that the single biggest beneficiary of the deal will be the King of Morocco, who is head of one of the three largest agricultural producers in the north African country and lays claim to 12,000 hectares of the nation's most fertile farmland.

Human rights groups have warned that royal estates covered with polytunnels stretch across swathes of the Dahkla region of the Western Sahara, the former Spanish colony annexed by Morocco in 1975.

They argue that the deal amounts to a breach of international law and effectively legitimises Morocco's occupation of the disputed Western Sahara region. The Western Sahara's Polisario Front independence movement is preparing to lobby the EU Parliament not to ratify the deal when it is put to the vote next month.

A similar row over fishing rights in waters off the Western Sahara led the European Parliament to cancel a deal last December that allowed trawlers from EU countries to fish in Moroccan waters in exchange for annual payments to Rabat.


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Denial of Self-Determination and Human Rights Abuses
Sábado, 28 de Enero de 2012 19:32
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In May 2006, and for the first time since the UN adopted the famous General Assembly’s resolution 1514, a delegation from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human rights visited Western Sahara to investigate the human rights situation in this last colony in Africa. The mission accomplished its task by writing a report concluding that:

‘1. As has been stated in various UN fora, the right to self-determination for the people of Western Sahara must be ensured and implemented without any further delay. As underlined above, the delegation concludes that almost all human rights violations and concerns with regard to the people of Western Sahara, whether under the de facto authority of the Government of Morocco or of the Frente Polisario, stem from the non-implementation of this fundamental human right.’

Nevertheless, this report was kept under embargo because a powerful member in the UN Security Council, France, refuses any kind of protection and monitoring of human rights in Western Sahara.

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