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New Zealand Government Urged To Halt Blood Phosphate Shipments

Western Sahara Campaign-NZ regretfully announces that once again New Zealand fertiliser companies Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients are continuing to play a part in the pillage of Western Sahara. A Hong Kong registered bulk carrier, the Trans Spring is due to arrive on 17th of June 2020 at Napier Port and then continue to Lyttleton to deliver a cargo of over 56,000 tonnes of phosphates illegally plundered from Western Sahara to Ravensdown. This comes shortly after the bulk carrier Van Star arrived at Tauranga and Bluff on behalf of Ballance Agri-Nutrients in May this year carrying a cargo of Western Sahara phosphates.

In the last financial year the Moroccan regime treasury received around US$30 million from the two New Zealand companies in return for Western Sahara rock however the people of Western Sahara particularly those in refugee camps and liberated areas did not benefit and do not consent to the illegal trade in their natural resources. The rock is extracted by the Moroccan business OCP for Moroccan profit with no return offered to the people of Western Sahara, the Saharawis.

Thousands of displaced Sahrawi live in camps near Tindouf in Algeria in harsh conditions where they have been since the Moroccan invasion in 1975. Currently the camps are experiencing food and medical shortages due to Covid-19 pandemic. The value of the current shipment on board the Trans Spring (US$ 4 million) could supply food to the camps for a year.

In good and bad times for the Saharawis both Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients continue to achieve their goals on the back of this hungry and displaced people. Once again New Zealand companies’ financial interests seem to have out-weighed legal obligations, ethics and human rights.

Mike Barton from the Western Sahara Campaign-NZ said “we urge the Government to step in and compel Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients to halt their illegal imports of Western Sahara phosphates immediately” and added “We also call on Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients to examine their respective positions and walk away from assisting the in the pillage of Western Sahara. Right now, there is but a ceasefire in place and these imports are providing financial rewards to the aggressor, Morocco, in its bid to annex Western Sahara and subjugate the Sahrawi.”

Mr Barton underlined that “The lack of action by the New Zealand Government and the intransigence of Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients are damaging our country’s reputation and standing in the world. We call on all New Zealanders to press their local representatives to end this shame and end this dark page of our modern history. It is time for New Zealanders to say NO to the trade in blood phosphates.”

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