New: NOVACT presents the report “The tentacles of occupation” at the UN human rights council in Geneva


The report, published by the Observatory of Human Rights and Business (ODHE) in the Mediterranean tackles the exploitation of fish resources from Western Sahara and the complicities of Spanish fish companies in this phenomenon.


Geneva, June 2019 – Last 25th June, Mahfud Mohamed Lamin Bechri, NOVACT representative to Western Sahara presented the report “The tentacles of the occupation” in a side event on the margin of the 41st session of UN human rights council, in Geneva.

During the discussions, Mahfud highlighted the important role of governments in order to end the violations of the rights of the Sahrawi people, such as the right to access and the responsible exploitation of their natural resources. He also explained some of the recommendations contained in the report, such as the respect of the Sahrawi sovereignty over its natural resources and the denunciation of illegal actions of extraction by transnational corporations.

In this regard, it was recalled that despite the multiple declarations of international organizations that recognize the illegal occupation that is carried out on Western Sahara, the European Union and several governments are involved in the extraction of resources when ratifying trade agreements with the government of Morocco, that include the Saharan territories.

To finish the presentation of the report, the representative of Novact also pointed out the importance of raise the awareness of the general population to discourage the purchase of products that came from these territories, and that have been marked as originating from Morocco. In addition, stressed out the importance to transferring to the public administrations the principle of policy coherence, through a responsible public procurement based on Human Rights.

The main theme of the conference addressed the violations of political, economic and cultural rights of the Saharawi people by the Moroccan occupation. Together with the report “The tentacles of the occupation” of ODHE, there was other presentations like “A gap in the wall” a report implemented by Asociación de amigos y amigas de la RASD en Álava, and financed by Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council, that details the violations against the Saharawi’s rights to work, education and health. The conference was also a chance to hear testimonies from activists from occupied territories of Western Sahara who spoke about their daily life under the Moroccan occupation and blockade.

The event was attended by ambassadors of different countries’ delegations at the UN like South Africa, Algeria, Namibia, Botswana, East Timor and Nigeria. It was also attended by the mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz and representatives of international human rights organizations and activists coming from different countries as well as the accredited press at the UN.

After the conference, copies of the report were disseminated to the participants and bilateral discussions took place with ambassadors and organizations about the report and its important findings and conclusions.