Monday, July 13, 2015

Western Sahara and oil

Ireland-based oil company, San Leon Energy, is facing a potential legal challenge over its proposed drilling activity in the disputed North African territory, which Morocco describes as its Southern Provinces. Human rights group opposed to the drilling say oil exploration should be suspended while the future of Western Sahara is in dispute. Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), a human rights non-governmental organisation run by Irish lawyers say they will take a legal action against the company over the plan.
The Irish Government has previously called for a referendum to decide the future of Western Sahara. Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said: "Under international law, the economic resources of a non-selfgoverning territory may only be exploited for the benefit of the people of the territory, on their behalf or in consultation with their representatives.
"Any exploration and exploitation activities that proceed in disregard of the interests of the people of Western Sahara would be in violation of the principles of international law."

San Leon's executive chairman Oisin Fanning said its activities are legally sound.

Ruairí McDermott of GLAN however told the Irish Independent "The right of a people to choose how or even whether to use their natural resources is one of the cornerstones of international human rights law."

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