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Liberian farmers take on Indonesian palm oil giant

Liberian farmers…are…fighting lucrative property deals with....palm oil companies that threaten the land they live on…In 2010, GVL [Golden Veroleum Liberia] acquired a 63-year lease on 220,000 hectares...of land...GVL's lease was signed…without…[local] representatives…Alfred Brownell…who founded...Green Advocates…filed a complaint on behalf of local inhabitants…with the international organisation RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil)…In late 2011, RSPO upheld a complaint…against Sime Darby (SD)…“SD recognised the right of the communities to their food security and livelihoods…along with rights to compensation for shrines, and water resources affected by the practice of clear-cutting that wiped out the villagers' food supplies”… Brownell is…worried about the situation with GVL…"The way they operate is…threats, intimidation, illegal arrests,"…GVL manager Jeff Benzin…[said]: "When we made mistakes we admitted it…[we] pay compensation to any person who accepts it. When they specifically show us sacred sites, we stop everything"…But he also argued that palm oil "can save this country economically" [Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the companies to respond. Sime Darby referred us to a previous statement. Golden Agri-Resources, Golden Veroleum Liberia respondes provided.]

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