“Colombian Land Activist Threatened by Paramilitaries Linked to Oil Palm Company Poligrow”
…Colombian environmental and land activist William Aljure was threatened by paramilitary leaders and followed by two unidentified men in Villavicencio, Colombia in the region of Meta. According to Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz…local paramilitary leader Edgar Pérez (whose alias is "Tomate") described Mr. Aljure as a "threat to the business" of oil palm in Colombia and called for his assassination. Mr. Aljure recently completed an advocacy trip to Washington, D.C. to speak out about the forced displacement and threats from paramilitary groups with links to oil palm company, Poligrow Colombia Ltd., against local farmers and indigenous communities in the area around Mapiripán, in Colombia's plains (llano) region…"Land rights are at the heart of the violent conflict which Colombia has suffered for decades," said Rose Davis EIA Program Coordinator. "Without meaningful protection of land rights activists and local communities, Colombia cannot be considered a safe place to develop large scale agricultural projects, as we see in the case of Poligrow and Mapiripán...Poligrow Colombia Ltd. has taken control of and planted oil palm across thousands of hectares in the Mapiripán area. The company is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). According to Mr. Aljure, the CEO of Poligrow Carlos Vigna Taglianti has personally intimidated local landholders, traveling to the region and demanding that land be signed over to him.