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5 Mar 2020

Axfood, Fairtrade Sweden, Greenfood, Martin & Servera, Menigo & Unil AS

Ecuador: Nordic companies write to govt. again to express concerns about a hearing against defender Jorge Acosta

"Statement regarding legal action against human rights defender Jorge Acosta", 05 Mar 2020

Spanish version

We, the undersigned companies [Axfood, Greenfood, Martin & Servera, Menigo, Unil AS, and organization Fairtrade Sweden] are importers (direct and indirect) of banana from Ecuador. We want to express our grave concern about the situation of Ecuadorian human rights defender and trade union leader Mr Jorge Acosta. Mr Acosta is the coordinator of the banana workers’ union ASTAC... In May 2019, some of us sent a public letter to you in support of Mr Acosta who was then accused of creating economic panic for reporting negative impacts of the banana industry. It is with great concern we now note that legal action is taken against Mr Acosta in another case which also seems to be an attempt to obstruct his legitimate work as a human rights defender... 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, such as Mr Acosta, to be able to speak freely, and without fear of retaliation or reprisal, about challenges in the supply chains. Such information...is crucial for us to continue improving the performance of our sector, in close cooperation with our suppliers. We do hope that the Ecuadorian courts of Justice and the Government will act to ensure that Mr Acosta will not be subject to any unfair treatment...