Municipalities drop controversially-imported Western Saharan road salt

Disputed territory rock bottom when it comes to civil and political rights

Four municipalities in Denmark have stopped acquiring road salt from the Danish company Dansk Vejsalt (DV) because the company controversially imports its salt from the northwestern African territory of Western Sahara.

Gladsaxe, Gentofte, Herlev and Rudersdal municipalities backed out of negotiations with DV, arguing that the Foreign Ministry recommends to avoid purchasing from territories like Western Sahara without documentation proving the deal is sanctioned by and benefits the territory's indigenous people, not their Moroccan occupiers.

The issue was broached after the development organisation Afrika Kontakt wrote to all 98 municipalities in Denmark regarding the ethical and human rights issues associated with the road salt from Western Sahara. Their efforts were then backed up by Trine Henriksen, a council member at Gladsaxe Municipality

”The way that Gladsaxe Municipality's ethical guidelines for acquisitions works depends on the companies living up to their responsibilities and providing documentation if asked,” Henriksen said in an Afrika Kontakt press release.

”Companies like Dansk Vejsalt and G4S contend that they live up to the demands, after which it becomes the municipalities' responsibility to document otherwise, so we depend on organisations like Afrika Kontakt and Danwatch to bring up these cases.”

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Human rights abuse
Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco since 1975 and its indigenous people have never accepted or approved Morocco’s occupation or utilisation of the territory's resources. Human rights organisations and the UN agree that the occupation is brutal and riddled with torture and police abuse.

In its latest report, Freedom House, a US research NGO, ranks Western Sahara rock bottom when it comes to civil and political rights.

The four municipalities have managed to negotiate a new agreement with DV involving road salt originating from Italy, which is not in breach of regulations. But other municipalities, such as Bornholm and Lolland, have already agreed to deals with DV concerning road salt from Western Sahara.





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