Cameroon: Director & staffers of NGO opposed to Herakles Farms project arrested, detained for several days - reportedly had planned peaceful demonstration

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Company response
18 December 2012

Herakles Farms response regarding alleged illegal conduct, environmental impact and local opposition surrounding its palm oil plantation in Cameroon

Author: Herakles Farms [USA]

Herakles Farms [part of Herakles Capital], the parent company of SGSOC, has the legal right to the Concession land...Herakles Farms has never received a fine, penalty or order to stop work...in April 2012, the Mundemba High Court reaffirmed its February 2012 ruling that SGSOC had complied with all the regulations in question, which were required for legal operation in Cameroon. The litigation by a local NGO to stop the project was therefore dismissed by the Courts, and no legislation is pending...From the very beginning of the project, we have had a policy of no resettlement. We will not force anyone from her or his land...Herakles Farms has the right to detain, but not arrest people...Herakles Farms consulted with community leaders and obtained support...[from] village chiefs and representatives...Herakles Farms re-affirms our commitment to bringing long-term benefits to Cameroon and are continuing to work at creating shared value for us and our stakeholders.

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Article
11 December 2012

Cameroon: Opposition to Herakles Repressed

Author: Cultural Survival

Nasako Besingi, the director of Struggle to Economise Future Environment (SEFE), one of our coalition partners on the ground in Cameroon, was arrested November 14th along with five others in the town of Mundemba, Cameroon. Local and international pressure was successful in releasing the activists after being held for two days with no charge. Besingi and his colleagues had been preparing a peaceful demonstration against the project. The majority of people in the area oppose the project, and that there has been little to no consultation on what is to be done to the land that has been worked by their families for many generations...Herakles’s presence in the region is considered a security risk by those opposed to the project, and as a threat to local communities’ rights. Experiencing harassment has become a persistent part of Besingi’s life as he continues to oppose the Herakles project.

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Article
29 November 2012

Cameroon: Arbitrary arrest of and judicial harassment against Mr. Nasako Besingi and four SEFE collaborators

Author: World Organisation Against Torture

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the...situation in Cameroon...[of] Nasako Besingi, Director of the NGO Struggle to Economize Future Environment (SEFE)...and four of his collaborators...The Observatory strongly condemns these arrests and...judicial harassment...as it seems to merely aim at sanctioning SEFE peaceful human rights activities... Please...[ask] the authorities of Cameroon...to: Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Nasako Besingi [and his collaborators]...; Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against them... [refers to Sithe Global Sustainable Oils Cameroon, a subsidiary of Herakles Farms (part of Herakles Capital)]

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