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Ravensdown involvement at Minerals Forum

Environmental Group “Environmental Justice Ōtepoti” will be attending the Stop the Minerals Forum protest outside the NZ Minerals Forum tomorrow. One of the reasons they are opposed to the minerals forum is due to the inclusion of fertilizer cooperative Ravensdown Ltd. Ravensdown purchase conflict Phosphates from the occupied territory of Western Sahara.

“We will be standing alongside protestors at the Minerals forum tomorrow in solidarity with the people of Western Sahara” said group spokesperson Rose Murphy. “We see Ravensdown’s involvement at the forum as an exercise in PR, they are doing their best to hide the fact that their trade in blood phosphates helps enable human rights abuse in Western Sahara.” said Ms. Murphy.

Last year a ship carrying phosphates destined for New Zealand was detained in South Africa as their courts ruled that the cargo was stolen from the people of Western Sahara. A boat was also detained in Panama for the same reason.

Western Sahara was invaded by Morocco in 1975. 165,000 people are still living in a refugee camp in neighbouring Algeria. The Saharawi people are separated from their homeland by a 2700 km sand wall personned by 120,000 soldiers. “The occupation is pretty brutal” said Ms. Murphy, “I think the people of Dunedin would be horrified to know that a local business is funding such an injustice.”

The people of Western Sahara are calling for Ravensdown Ltd and Ballance Agri-Nutrients to “stop stealing their future”. These two NZ fertilizer cooperatives are the last two companies that still import from the occupied region apart from one Indian company partially owned by the Moroccan royal family.
Kamal Fadel; a representative of the Western Sahara liberation movement Polisario Front, says that the phosphate trade ‘fund(s) the occupation’ and also signifies ‘de-facto recognition’ of Morocco's claim to the territory.

“Environmental Justice Ōtepoti supports the right to self determination of the Saharawi people” said Ms Murphy, “ Ravensdown and Ballance should stop dealing in Blood Phosphate until they get a referendum for their independence.”

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