The All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group (PHRG) welcomed this international delegation of indigenous peoples’ leaders, community representatives and civil society organisations from Peru, Liberia, Colombia and Indonesia, all of whom are affected by the palm oil industry. The meeting was organised by Forest Peoples Programme, an international organisation who work to promote forest peoples’ rights.
The speakers were:
- Franky Samperante, Founder-Director of the indigenous peoples’ organisation Pusaka, in Sulawesi, Indonesia (“FS”)
- Agus Sutomo, Director of the Pontianak-based NGO LinkAR-Borneo, in West Kalimantan, Indonesia; (“AS”)
- Ali Kaba; Programme Coordinator and Senior Researcher at the Sustainable Development Institute, Liberia (“AK”)
- Robert Guimaraes Vasquez, member of the Shipibo-Conibo indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon. (“RGV”)
- Sedequías Ancon Chávez, representative of the Shipibo people and leader affiliated to the Inter-ethnic Development Association of the Peruvian Amazon; (“SAC”)
- William Aljure, land and human rights defender and representative of Communities Constructing Peace in Territories (CONPAZ) from the Mapiripan area,Colombia. (“WA”)
The main points raised by the delegation were:
- Since palm oil plantations were established in Papua, conflicts between civil society and the military have increased. Community members have been arrested, jailed and tortured and villages have been burnt down. (FS)
- For indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon, the palm oil industry is having a direct affect on their access to land and food security, as land is deforested to create space for the plantations. (SAC)
- Certain companies involved in Peruvian palm oil plantations have shares in the London Stock Exchange. Investors should be more aware of the rights of indigenous people affected by these companies’ practices. (RGV)
- In Liberia, companies have bought public land for palm oil plantations, causing displacement of large numbers of local people. These contracts have often been made without proper consultation of the communities affected. (AK)
- In Colombia, a plantation has been created on the site of the 1997 Mapiripán Massacre in Meta. Indigenous people have been prevented from accessing the land and are struggling to access fresh water supplies as a result. (WA)
- The UK Government is encouraged to consider the impact of the palm oil industry on communities and its own role in regulating it, given the high demands of the supply chain entering Europe. In particular, the UK Government should strengthen regulation of financial institutions and the private sector involved in the agribusiness sector to ensure compliance with human rights standards.
- The UK Government can also support and strengthen certification schemes like the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
The PHRG regularly meets with community representatives and activists affected by large scale business operations around the world. We raise our concerns where possible using the Parliamentary platform.
All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group (PHRG)
c/o Office of Ann Clwyd, MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA