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Global palm oil traders acknowledge the need to prevent human rights abuses in Guatemala

Author: Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA; Friends of the Earth-United States; Rainforest Action Network; Oxfam America & ActionAid USA, Published on: 8 June 2016

…One year after a massive spill of toxic palm oil effluent into Guatemala’s Pasión River that was labeled an ‘ecocide’ by a Guatemalan court, and nine months after the killing of a Guatemalan activist who denounced the spill, social movement groups in Guatemala are still demanding justice, and companies have begun to recognize that such violence and ecocide must not be tolerated. Last week, Cargill, one of the largest purchasers of palm oil from Guatemala, published a statement requiring REPSA, the Guatemalan company that was the defendant in the ecocide case, to take a series of actions to prevent future violence. The same day, REPSA published a “Policy on Non Violence and Intimidation.”…[C]ivil society groups in Guatemala have pursued a series of legal actions and non-violent protests, and a coalition of international advocacy groups…have called on global palm oil giants Wilmar, Cargill, IOI, ADM, AAK and Bunge to publicly denounce the violence, cut ties to REPSA, and take clear steps to address human rights risks in their supply chains. Friday’s statements from Cargill and REPSA are the first visible signs that companies recognize the need to address civil society’s demands…It is too early to tell what repercussions Cargill’s statement may have for the resolution of grievances in Guatemala, or for its palm oil supply, much of which is sold in Europe…

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Related companies: AKK Archer Daniels Midland Bunge Cargill Grupo Hame IOI Group Reforestación de Palma del Petén (Repsa) (part of Grupo Hame) Wilmar International