West & Central Africa: NGOs denounce abuses against women in industrial oil palm plantations
Author: World Rainforest Movement, GRAIN and others , Published on: 26 September 2018
"Declaration: No to abuse against women in industrial oil palm plantations"
We said it in Mundemba, Cameroon, we reiterated it in Port Loko, Sierra Leone, we re-affirm this in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire: the abuse against women in and around industrial oil palm plantations must STOP! We, community-based, national and international organisations involved in the struggle for the rights of women in rural communities in West and Central Africa, signatories of this declaration, met at the CERAO in Abidjan, from 10 to 14 August 2018.
After our field visit to the village of Tiegba, in the sub-prefecture of Guitry, and hearing stories and experiences faced daily by women who live in and around industrial oil palm plantations in different African countries, we stand with our sisters to denounce and break the silence about the different forms of violence and abuse that take place in and around the industrial plantations. We heard touching testimonies of women: who are arrested for picking up even only a few nuts in the plantations; for whom neo-colonialism persists in the form of industrial plantations or customs that deny women (equal) access to family land; suffering under curfews imposed by oil palm plantation companies that limit freedom of movement; as a result, our sisters have been losing their babies because they could not access hospitals after curfew; [and] who cannot make public cases of violence and abuse that take place in and around the industrial plantations or even under their own domestic roofs.
We demand: that the expansion of industrial plantations stops; that men and women are ensured equal access to their land to cultivate and harvest; negotiations on land acquisition that are inclusive, transparent and which involve women directly in the decisions made that affect their land; denunciation at all levels of cases of rape and any other form of violence against women in and around industrial plantations; sustainable family farming that protects ecosystems and generates income for women in peasant farming communities; [and] future generations inherit a fertile, healthy, diverse continent that we are proud of.