Villagers in Port Loko District, Sierra Leone are celebrating. After nearly a decade of struggling against a company that grabbed their lands and erected oil palm plantations, a court has ruled that the lands must be given back to the communities. Now they are trying to figure out what they should do with the large areas of lands that have been occupied by rows and rows of oil palms.
As ING launches its sustainable investment campaign, a civil society coalition from Belgium and the Netherlands calls upon ING to clean up their act. ING’s financing of controversial palm oil companies such as SOCFIN is far from sustainable.
On September 21, 2017 about 150 to 200 women were stopped by police on their way to Pujehun to urge local authorities to take action against the Luxembourg-based oil palm plantation company SOCFIN for grabbing their lands and committing other related human rights abuses. The women were travelling from Malen Chiefdom and were stopped by road blocks set up by the police at Benga Junction, about 4 km outside of Pujehun, the capital of Pujehun District, Sierra Leone.
On occasion of September 21st, International day of Struggle against Tree Plantations, women from several countries from West and Central Africa have taken the initiative to release simultaneously the petition we enclose below.
We, Women want our land and forests back so that we can have an agriculture that feeds us. We want a change that allows us to provide livelihoods that allow for good, healthy lives in dignity for our communities.
On 1 and 3 June, protestors occupied the headquarters of Socfin (Luxembourg) and Bolloré (Paris) demanding that the two companies respect the rights of local communities. Socfin and Bolloré have agricultural investments in several countries in Asia and Africa, primarily for oil palm plantations. See an overview of the days' mobilisations, which were live-tweeted by GRAIN and others.
As the spring meetings of the World Bank get underway in Washington, DC, 180 organizations, including NGOs, unions, and farmer and consumer groups from over 80 countries, demand that the World Bank end its Doing Business rankings and its support of the rampant theft of land and resources from some of the world’s poorest people -- farmers, pastoralists, and indigenous communities, many of whom are essential food producers for the entire planet.
Groups that are interested and organising to stop land grabs from the "home base" of the land grabbers might want to look at this very well done report from Brot für Alle, about what the Swiss energy giant Addax is doing in Sierra Leone.