One month after violent incidents in the SOCFIN plantations in Sierra Leone leading to brutal repression by security forces, the death of two people and 15 people arrested, Sierra Leonean and international civil society organisations urge the government of Sierra Leone and the company to immediately end the repression of land rights defenders and the human rights violations and abuses suffered by local communities.
While land grabbing has been going on since ages, today's massive assault on fertile farmland by investors, speculators and food and biofuel corporations is something big and new. Over the past ten years, ever since GRAIN first exposed the issue and put it on the global agenda, land grabbing has become one of our most active areas of work. GRAIN's contribution takes the form of research, information and outreach work. We also support the struggles of different civil society organisations against corporate land deals, especially in Asia and Africa. We do so mainly through capacity building, strategy development and alliance building together with partners that aim to turn the tide.
At least two villagers have been killed and dozens of others are in hiding or being held by police in Malen, Sierra Leone following a brutal intervention by police and military to suppress local protests against SOCFIN's oil palm plantation operations.
On 18 November 2008, The Financial Times exposed a massive deal being negotiated between Daewoo Logistics and the government of Madagascar. Through this deal, the South Korean company was seeking access to no less than 1.3 million hectares to grow maize for export back home while the local communities were uninformed. The breaking of this story helped lead to the overthrow of the Malagasy government a few months later, and woke the world up to an outrageous new trend of global land grabbing for agricultural production driven by the food and financial crises. Ten years later, what are we seeing?
Money from pension funds has fuelled the financial sector's massive move into farmland investing over the past decade. The number of pension funds involved in farmland investment and the amount of money they are deploying into it is increasing, under the radar. This unprecedented take-over of farmland by financial companies has major implications for rural communities and food systems, and must be challenged. Leaving it to the companies to police themselves with their own voluntary guidelines is a recipe for disaster.
DRC communities file complaint with German development bank to resolve century-old land conflict with palm oil company
RIAO-RDC, GRAIN, FIAN Germany, urgewald, WRM, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, CNCD-11.11.11, FIAN Belgium, SOS Faim, Oxfam Solidarité/teit, Entraide et Fraternité, AEFJN (Belgium), The Corner House (UK), Global Legal Action Network | 07 November 2018 | Media releases, Land
Nine communities from the DR Congo took a historic step this week by filing a complaint with the complaints mechanism of the German development bank (Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft – DEG). The communities of the DR Congo want a resolution to a land conflict that dates back to the Belgian colonial period with a palm oil company that is currently being financed by a consortium of European development banks led by DEG.
Land grabbing is now considered a crime against humanity, but few land grabbers end up in jail. Instead, if you search the specialised website farmlandgrab.org for news about law suits, court proceedings, convictions or imprisonment related to land deals, what you will largely find are reports of local communities being accused of wrongdoing for defending their own territories against powerful companies! Yet the links between crime, corruption and those engaging in agricultural land deals are real.
An investigative report by GRAIN and the Brazilian Network for Social Justice and Human Rights (“Rede Social”) shows how Harvard University’s endowment fund used an opaque corporate structure to acquire control of an estimated 850,000 hectares (ha) of farmland across five continents during the past 10 years. The report details how Harvard's farmland deals are connected to multiple conflicts over land and water, including instances of land grabbing in Brazil.
One of the world's major buyers of farmland is under fire for their involvement in land conflicts, environmental destruction and risky investments. A new report by GRAIN and Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos presents, for the first time, a comprehensive analysis of Harvard University's controversial investments in global farmland.
2017 went down as one of the deadliest years ever for land defenders. It was also a pretty bad year for several land grabbers. A significant number of big farmland deals collapsed, adding to a growing list of projects that have backfired over the past few years. While this is good news for affected communities, many of them are now left dealing with the fall-out and still struggling to get their lands back. We may have made some gains in stopping the projects, but have urgent work to do to address what happens when they fail.
NGOs and solidarity organisations supporting the struggles of affected local communities assess the problems caused, and promises unkept, by the SOCFIN group, as shareholders meet for the rubber and oil palm giant’s AGM on 30 May.