Stop New Zealand's import of phosphate from occupied Western Sahara.

Stop New Zealand's import of phosphate from occupied Western Sahara.

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Jayashankar Warrier started this petition to David Parker (Minister of Trade New Zeland)

For the past 40 years, Morocco has illegally and brutally occupied the territory of Western Sahara. As a result of which, an estimated 100,000 Sahrawis (natives of Western Sahara) have fled to refugee camps in neighboring Algeria.

In response to such allegations, Morocco maintains that its presence in the region is not an act of occupation, but one of reunification in the post-colonial era. Morocco argues that Western Sahara was once a part of the greater Moroccan empire, thus its presence in the region post-Spanish decolonization is nothing but an act of historic reunification. However, this claim has had very little recognition from the international community. Both the International Court of Justice and the United Nations categorize Morocco's presence in Western Sahara as an act of occupation under international law. These institutions have also recognized that there exists a right to self-determination for the native Sahrawi population. In fact, many scholars maintain that Morocco's presence in Western Sahara is the last remaining colonial issue in Africa.

But the driving factor behind Morocco's occupation of Western Sahara, despite such international opposition. Has been the regions rich resource reserves, most notably its phosphate mines. In a 2018 report published by Western Sahara Resource Watch, it was calculated that an estimated 200 million dollars worth of phosphate was illegally extracted from the occupied territory in 2017. But luckily, markets across the world are currently closing their doors to unlawfully plundered resources.

In 2018, the European Union declared all products exported by Morocco, originating from occupied Western Sahara as those arising out of an internationally wrongful act. Thus effectively closing its doors to plundered resources. But one nation that has kept its doors open to such products has been New Zeland.

New Zealand based corporations Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients currently act as the major source of demand for phosphate originating from occupied Western Sahara. This multi-million dollar demand creates a strong incentive for the Moroccan government to continue its brutal occupation of the region.

Thus in this petition, we request that the Government of New Zealand respect its international legal obligations and prohibit corporations operating within its sovereign boundaries from importing plundered resources. Failing to do so directly aids an oppressive occupying force in violating the recognized human rights of countless individuals.

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