Phosphate importer faces questions after ship impounded
New Zealand phosphate importer Ballance faces questions after ship impounded.
Western Sahara Campaign-NZ notes
that the people of Western Sahara would like some questions
answered in the aftermath of a cargo of phosphate being
impounded in South Africa. The vessel NM Blossom was stopped
by court order in the South African port of Port Elizabeth.
The cargo, plundered from Western Sahara, was destined for
the New Zealand company Ballance Agri-Nutrients. Much of the
news and comment since has focussed on the impact on the
importer Ballance and on New Zealand. The impact on the
people of Western Sahara, as is very much usual, is being
Majhoub Mleiha, from Western Sahara, left questions on a social media platform for the CEO of Ballance Agri-Nutrients Mark Wynne. With Majhoub's permission we repeat them here.
Dear Mark Wynne,
Dear Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ team,
Reading this post from your company gave me the impression that you are trying to explain your position in somehow. To understand it clearly, would you & your team be able to help me out understanding your point of view by clarifying the following:
imported phosphate rocks are coming from the occupied
territories of #WesternSahara. Right ?
2- your phosphate import deals are negotiated and signed with Morocco. Do you recognise Moroccan sovereignty on WS against the #UN and your country's position ?
3- from your public statements, you support the #UN efforts to reach peaceful solution to the conflict. How are you contributing ?
4- during your visit to occupied territories of Western Sahara, have you been able to meet Saharawis ? Or you just followed whoever brought you there in meeting people presented to you without making efforts to meet people on the ground ? (as Saharawis, we were never informed about your visit actually)
5- you place high level of scrutiny and due diligence around your supply chain. Can we then conclude that your involvement in the plunder of Western Sahara’s Phosphate wasn’t a mistake due to lack of information ? was it a conscious involvement ?
6- did you know that the half of the Saharawi people lives in refugee camps depending on humanitarian aid, And you are deeply involved in stealing our future ?
7- the international law, European law and even the African union positions are clear in giving no legal basis for the plunder in Western Sahara. Would you and your company still insist to go against the legality to secure business interest ?
8- can you estimate the quantities of phosphate illegally imported from Western Sahara during the past 40 years ? (I am sure the Saharawi government have its own estimation from monitoring your activities)
9- are you considering compensation claims from the Saharawi government for years of illegal imports?
looking forward to receiving your
thanking you in advance,
These questions could also, and quite reasonably, be put to the Chief Executive, Greg Campbell, of New Zealand business Ravensdown. Ravensdown also import from Western Sahara. Both Ballance and Ravensdown feature in the recent Western Sahara Resource Watch report on the trade. Report: http://www.wsrw.org/files/dated/2017-04-24/p_for_plunder_2016_web.pdf