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Human rights defenders call on Consumer Goods Forum companies to prevent violence & killings in their supply chains

“The agribusiness supply chain is one of the riskiest for human rights defenders and communities,” said Michel Forst, former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, speaking at a Zero Tolerance Initiative event... “The Consumer Goods Forum – as a key platform for retailers, producers of products from palm oil, soya among others – can play a key role in advancing the [human rights] debate and improve corporate practices related to human rights defenders and environmental rights defenders."... Forst urged the Consumer Goods Forum “to include the recommendations contained in the NGO letter in the commodity roadmaps and in the further consultations with stakeholders.”

... An indigenous community leader and human rights defender from Paraguay... explained that indigenous Paraguayans face racism and discriminatory policies and attitudes, including from the non-indigenous cattle ranchers that restrict the access of indigenous communities to their ancestral lands, limiting their freedoms to practice their traditional livelihoods on their ancestral lands. 

... In Colombia... local communities face similar issues... “Many of the conflicts can be traced to land tenure problems and inequality in access to land,"... said a female human rights defender and leader of an Afro-descendant community... "Many of our communities are now surrounded by oil palm plantations and their access to water, wells and livelihood resources has been lost,” said the leader. “The plantations use chemicals that bring serious and grave consequences for our communities, [while at the same time] the palm monocultures are also encroaching on our water and forest reserves.”

... “It is significant that the cases from Peru and Colombia being shared in this ZTI event are both linked to global oil palm supply chains connected to major transnational agribusiness, food and beverage companies who are members of the CGF, including Nestlé, Cargill and Unilever,” said Maria del Rosario Arango of Forest Peoples Programme.

... An Indigenous leader from Ucayali in the Peruvian Amazon described the impacts on local people of palm oil company Ocho Sur P. “This company has destroyed our way of life. In the midst of a pandemic, it has continued operating without authorisation or permission. This company does not respect Indigenous Peoples' rights".... “Ocho Sur P supplies oil palm to OLPESA, OLAMSA, Rossel and Palm Oleo, among others. These companies supply palm oil to Peru's largest consumer goods company, Alicorp. Between 2013-2019, 25% of the palm oil exported from Peru came from Alicorp.” “Even as the RSPO continues to investigate the complaint we filed against OLPESA a year and half ago, we have learnt that CGF member Nestlé includes OLPESA amongst its suppliers,” the Indigenous leader said.

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