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RSPO should suspend membership of groups undermining Guatemala’s anti-impunity commission

Author: Doug Hertzler and Jeff Conant (Mongabay), Published on: 6 February 2019

In the coming weeks and months, a number of Guatemalan palm oil producers are expecting to receive memberships in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)… the journey toward sustainability must begin from a baseline of proven ethical intent…Indeed, evidence has come to light that the Guatemalan palm oil industry writ large has been explicitly engaged in an effort to undermine democracy in the country — a fact that the RSPO cannot ignore…In an effort to address the rampant criminality in the country, beginning in 2006, Guatemala’s Congress endorsed the presence of a U.N.-sponsored Commission Against Impunity, which worked with Guatemala’s attorney general to address political corruption and human rights violations against Guatemala’s majority indigenous peoples. But in late December 2018, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales defied his country’s Constitutional Court and signed an order expelling the U.N. commission. Among the strongest voices in support of this move was the Association of Oil Palm Growers in Guatemala (GREPALMA)…the Association of Oil Palm Growers publicly announced its support for the commission’s expulsion…The consideration by the RSPO of increasing its membership in Guatemala comes at a moment when the human rights crisis in the country is becoming increasingly visible internationally…

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