This is the ninth chapter of 'Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads'.
This case study looks in some detail at oil palm concessions granted in 1996 to a local joint venture company Rinwood-Pelita on the middle Tinjar river in northern Sarawak which overlaps the customary lands of communities of the Berawan, Kayan and Kenyah peoples. The local enterprise was acquired by the Malaysian transnational palm oil company, IOI, a prominent member of the RSPO, in 2006.
The case is especially important as it not only reveals the complexities of law relating to customary rights recognition in Sarawak but also exposes the problems with four parallel systems of dispute resolution that are at play, including: the company’s procedures; the national courts; the RSPO’s grievance procedure and; the RSPO’s Dispute Settlement Facility. Despite all these efforts, the dispute remains unresolved, 16 years later.
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