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17 Nov 2023

Martin & Servera,

Ecuador: Axfood, Greenfood, Martin & Servera and Menigo release statement regarding death threats against HRDs

"Statement regarding threats against human rights defenders", November 2023

...We, the undersigned companies, sourcing bananas from Ecuador would like to express our deep concern over the death threats reportedly received by three women human rights defenders in the banana sector. It has come to our knowledge that, on the 4th of October 2023, Maricela Guzmán, Diana Montoya and Miriam Ternoz from ASTAC (Asociación Sindical de Trabajadores Agrícolas y Campesinos) received identical anonymous death threats including demands to refrain from defending workers' rights and not to interfere with the interests of banana companies.

As companies that are dependent on global supply chains we are committed to respecting human rights in all parts of our operations. We rely on human rights defenders to be able to speak freely, and without fear of retaliation or reprisals, in line with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. Information from human rights defenders, in addition to information by other sources, is crucial for us to continue improving the performance of our sector and address challenges in our supply chains.

We have contacted our suppliers and relevant business associations in Ecuador to obtain more information and express support for the human rights defenders at risk. We have zero-tolerance to any kind of involvement in attacks against human rights defenders. In addition, we urge the Ecuadorian Government, Ecuadorian courts of Justice and relevant authorities to take all necessary means to ensure these crimes are investigated and the perpetrators prosecuted...