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Liberia: NGOs develop new advocacy strategies to hold oil palm producers accountable for environmental & human rights concerns where the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil falls short

Author: Cewhy Kwanue, Daily Observer, Published on: 16 January 2019

"Green Advocates, IDI Develop New Tools to Hold Oil Palm Farmers Accountable for Environmental and Human Rights Violations", 7 January 2019.

Green Advocates International (GAI) and Inclusive Development International (IDI) have developed new advocacy tools that would be used by local communities to hold oil palm growers accountable for environmental and human rights violations committed in Liberia...The development of the tools was necessary because Liberia has awarded up to 870,000 hectares of land through concessions to multi-national companies for the cultivation of oil palm, which has been characterized by series of protests from local communities irritated by alleged human rights and environmental violations...Prior to the development of the advocacy tools, GAI has effectively used the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to hold oil palm companies like Sime Darby and Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) accountable for human and environmental rights violations... 

But, the head of programs at GAI, Francis Colee, said even the involvement of the oil palm industry in voluntary codes such as the RSPO have not effectively mitigated the risk of human rights and environmental violations occurring in Liberia...Paul Larry George, Chairman of Alliance for Rural Democracy (ARD)...indicated that “like rubber, the oil palm sector has created so many controversies over land rights, desecrated shrines and sacred places, displaced populations, polluted water sources and destroyed the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and local communities.”...George was however quick to note that many investors in the oil palm industry appear to be making improvements from initial mistakes they made in handling community grievances, but expressed fear over whether local communities will be engaged or properly consulted in acquiring land for oil palm expansion...

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Related companies: Golden Veroleum Liberia Sime Darby