Resources

Urgent appeal against the forced eviction of Sengwer communities in Kenya

We are deeply concerned by the forced evictions of the 6,000-7,000 Sengwer indigenous people and other communities in Embobut Forest in the Cherangany Hills (Elgeyo Marakwet County, Kenya).

For many years the Government has been trying to move the indigenous inhabitants of Embobut off their land by burning their homes. They have done this in the name of a fortress conservation approach which seeks to remove local people from their lands. As IUCN and all pre-eminent conservation organisations now acknowledge, such an approach only ever makes the environmental situation worse, and adds a human rights disaster to the environmental crisis. The new President has taken what at first appeared to be a new approach: he came in November and promised them a small amount of money to move, however now that it is clear people are refusing to move, this is being followed up with this threat of imminent eviction.

'Conflict or Consent?' Chapter 13: Summary case study on the situation of Golden Veroleum Liberia’s oil palm concession

The Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) concession agreement was concluded on 16th August 2010 and provides a lease for 220,000 ha of land to GVL in Liberia's southern counties. Community grievances concerning the loss of land to the company, the destruction of crops and water sources, the lack of respect for communities' rights to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) in land acquisition and associated allegations of intimidation, arrests and harassment directed at community leaders, led to several complaints.

'Conflict or Consent?' Chapter 14: The BioPalm oil palm project: a case study in the Département of Océan, Cameroon

This is the fourteenth chapter of 'Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads'.

Introduction

An increasing trend in large-scale land acquisitions has been observed globally since about 2007 driven by rising food commodity prices, amongst other factors. This phenomenon has attracted the label of ‘land-grab’ due to widespread concern over the threats it presents to the human rights of communities living from the land being acquired. Africa has arguably been the region most affected by such land deals and the authors of this study have recently witnessed this trend in Cameroon. Coinciding with the moratorium on palm oil in Indonesia in 2011, at least four new large-scale oil palm plantation projects have been announced in Cameroon and several existing oil palm and rubber plantations are seeking to expand their current land allocations. This paper examines an oil palm plantation project planned by BioPalm/SIVA in the Océan department of Cameroon. It assesses the plans and processes undertaken by the project proponents, reports on the views of local communities and analyses the project’s compliance with national and international laws, with particular emphasis on the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).

'Conflict or Consent?' Chapter 15: SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon PLC (SGSOC) in South West Cameroon

This is the fifthteenth chapter of 'Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads'.

On 17th September 2009, SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon PLC (SGSOC) signed a contract with the Cameroonian government to develop a large industrial oil palm plantation and refinery. SGSOC is 100% owned by the American company Herakles Farms, an affiliate of Herakles Capital, an Africa-focused private investment firm involved in the telecommunications, energy, infrastructure, mining and agroindustrial sectors.

SGSOC's project has been the subject of great controversy over the last two years. Local communities, conservation groups, and NGOs have expressed opposition to the project due to its numerous negative social and environmental impacts. However, Herakles claims the project will contribute to socio-economic development and environmental protection. Yet in September 2012, the firm withdrew their application for membership of the RSPO in reaction to a formal complaint lodged against them and widespread criticism of their project.

'Conflict or Consent?' Chapter 12: Sime Darby oil palm and rubber plantation in Grand Cape Mount County, Liberia

This is the twelth chapter of 'Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads'.

Introduction:

Sime Darby’s oil palm and rubber concession in Grand Cape Mount county in northwest Liberia has come under sharp national and international focus after a complaint was submitted under the RSPO New Plantings Procedure (NPP) in November 2011. The complaint, submitted by communities affected by the concession, claimed that their Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) had not been sought, and that the destruction of their farmlands by the company in order to plant palm oil was leaving them destitute. Sime Darby’s concession also includes land in the neighbouring counties of Bomi, Gbarpolu and Bong.This case study, based on field research conducted in February 2012, assesses the nature and extent of community involvement in the acquisition of land for Sime Darby’s concession in Grand Cape Mount, in particular with regard to whether the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent was respected.1 See page 315 for Sime Darby’s own map of the new plantings area and affected towns in Grand Cape Mount county.

FPP E-Newsletter December 2013 (PDF Version)

Dear Friends,

What are the prospects for securing the land rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, and women in the foreseeable future?

Significantly, the report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, under Goal 1 to “End Poverty”, sets a target to “Increase by x% the share of women and men, communities, and businesses with secure rights to land, property, and other assets”.

Letter to UNESCO reiterating concerns over the designation of the Lake Bogoria site as a World Heritage Site without obtaining the FPIC of the Endorois

The Endorois Welfare Council, IWGIA, Minority Rights Group and Forest Peoples Programme have written to UNESCO to express their continued concerns over the designation of the Lake Bogoria site (in Kenya) as a World Heritage Site without obtaining the free, prior and informed consent of the Endorois, who are the rightful owners of the land in and around the site. 

New publication by CED: A Simplified Guide to Forest Monitoring for Local Communities

The Centre for the Environment and for Development (CED) has published a new guide on forest monitoring for use by local communities. The aim of the guide is to inform and raise awareness of the benefits of forest monitoring by communities, and to present the main methods and necesssary tools to ensure good forest governance. It is intended to provide local forest communities with the necessary skills and tools to effectively identify and denounce activities of illegal forest exploitation taking place around them.

Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads

Click here to read related PRESS RELEASE.

Read this report in English or in Bahasa Indonesia

Growing global demand for palm oil is fuelling the large-scale expansion of oil palm plantations across Southeast Asia and Africa. Concerns about the environmental and social impacts of the conversion of vast tracts of land to monocrop plantations led in 2004 to the establishment of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which encourages oil palm expansion in ways that do not destroy high conservation values or cause social conflict. Numerous international agencies have also called for reforms of national frameworks to secure communities’ rights and to develop sound land governance.

Press Release - Sustainable Palm Oil: Marketing Ploy or True Commitment? New Research Questions Effectiveness of RSPO Standards

MEDAN, INDONESIA (7 November, 2013)—Members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) are violating the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities in the forests and peatlands of tropical nations worldwide, according to a new research publication released today. The study details the performance of 16 oil palm operations, many run by RSPO members, reporting on their failure to uphold human rights and environmental standards required.

Joint statement of NGOs on the arrest of Virunga Park Ranger, Rodrigue Katembo Mugaruka, in the Democratic Republic of Congo

PRESS INFORMATION - For immediate release

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - On Thursday, 19th September, Rodrigue Katembo Mugaruka a warden in Virunga National Park and recipient of the Abraham Conservation Award was arrested by Congolese security forces and taken to Goma. We, the undersigned, are extremely concerned about the ranger's well-being and the circumstances of his arrest.

UN OHCHR: UN rights chief Navi Pillay urges States to do more to respect treaties with indigenous peoples

"GENEVA (07 August 2013) –States need to do more to honour and strengthen their treaties with indigenous peoples, no matter how long ago they were signed, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay has said in a statement to mark International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 9 August.

“Even when signed or otherwise agreed more than a century ago, many treaties remain the cornerstone for the protection of the identity, land and customs of indigenous peoples, determining the relationship they have with the State. They are thus of major significance to human rights today,” she said.

“They want to take our bush”: An independent assessment of processes employed by Herakles/SGSOC to obtain the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of communities to be affected by their palm oil development in South West Cameroon

This report summarises the findings from an independent assessment by Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) of the processes employed by Herakles/SGSOC to obtain the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of communities to be affected by their palm oil development project in Mundemba and Nguti Subdivisions in South West Cameroon. This assessment is framed in terms of the obligations on the company and government of Cameroon to comply with international law with respect to protecting community rights, and especially the need to secure the FPIC of local and indigenous peoples over the development of their customary lands.  

FPP E-Newsletter July 2013 (PDF Version)

Dear Friends,

Mutual recognition, mutual respect and mutual benefit are among the desirable attributes of all human relationships. Indigenous peoples and other forest peoples also expect these qualities in their relationships with others – be they governments, private corporations, NGOs or other indigenous peoples’ organisations and communities. This issue of Forest Peoples Programme’s E-Newsletter reports on the state of various relationships between forest peoples and different institutions – as these are forged, tested or broken –in the course of assertions for upholding basic human rights, social justice and solidarity.