Report: Canadian fertilizer companies behind near all controversial trade with occupied Western Sahara

Western Sahara Resource Watch

Two Canadian fertilizer companies, Agrium and PotashCorp, were behind 64.5% of all conflict mineral purchases from occupied Western Sahara during the year of 2015.

This can be read in a report published today by Western Sahara Resource Watch. The report traces all the shipments of phosphates rock from occupied Western Sahara last year to ports overseas, and reveals the role of importers internationally in the controversial trade. The rock is used for fertilizer production in Canada.

Download the report and find images of Western Sahara refugees protesting the Canadian companies here. The images of the protesting refugees were released today. 

"The illegally exploited phosphate rock is the Moroccan government’s main source of income from the territory which it holds contrary to international law," stated Erik Hagen of Western Sahara Resource Watch. "Representatives of the Saharawi people are outspoken against the trade in letters to Agrium and PotashCorp, but the two fail to stop the purchases. Opponents of the plunder are suffering life-time imprisonments in Moroccan jails."

Fewer and fewer multinational companies are involved in the controversial trade. Only three stock exhange registered companies in the world are now active, Agrium and PotashCorp being two of them. Numerous investors, primarily in Europe, have blacklisted the two Canadian companies from their investment portfolios over ethical concerns. Canadian investors have suggested a proposal for the upcoming AGM of PotashCorp next month. 

Western Sahara Resource Watch calls on the two Canadian companies to immediately halt all purchases of Western Sahara phosphates until a solution to the conflict has been found. Investors are requested to engage or divest unless companies commit clearly to withdrawing from the trade.

Morocco has recently kicked out UN peacekeepers from the territory, and condemned the UN Secretary-General for his work on the issue. Morocco's invasion of the territory has been condemned by the UN.