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Brazil: Open letter calling to End Sourcing from Brazilian Palm Oil Giant linked to Violence and Land Grabs

The land conflicts between  Brasil BioFuels (BBF) and Indigenous peoples and local communities are long standing in the state of Para, Brazil, as BBF's plantations are located on land claimed as traditional lands by indigenous peoples and local communities.

On the eve of the Amazon Summit in Belém, this August, security guards and the Military Police are accused of having shot four indigenous Tembé people in this escalating land conflict.

This open letter calls for the suspension of sourcing from BBF until the company takes action to end all forms of violence and intimidation against the community and until harms have been compensated and fully remedied to the satisfaction of the aggrieved communities.

Read the full open letter in English and in Portuguese.


Peru: Open Letter - AIDESEP repudiates Ocho Sur palm oil group intimidation, demands buyers step up to protect human rights and forests

In response to an open letter by the Ocho Sur palm oil group, the National Amazonian Indigenous Peoples’ organisation, AIDESEP, issued a public letter in response on July 7, 2022. This letter accuses Ocho Sur of using intimidatory purposes to conceal its "divide and rule" strategy, which affects the self-determination and self-government of the Amazonian Indigenous peoples of Ucayali.

The letter further calls on Ocho Sur's international buyers to exercise due diligence before buying palm oil from this company.

Read the full open letter here

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Peru: Paohyan community declare state of emergency due to deforestation and State abandonment

After a meeting from 28-29 March, 2022, the Shipibo-Konibo community of Paohyan declared a state of emergency on their territory  in the face of the abandonment of the Peruvian state and the pressure on their territory due to deforestation, illegal logging and drug trafficking. 

The Paohyan community invited President Pedro Castillo Torres to listen to their demands. They will not allow anybody into their community apart from State officials and representatives of allied NGOs. 

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Voices from the Ground: Tackling the growing threats to human rights defenders, indigenous leaders and communities through business and government respect for collective land rights  

On December 3, Zero Tolerance Initiative held a webinar where four distinguished Indigenous leaders shared their reflections on the implications the recent COP26 summit and UNGPs in the next decade (following on from the 10th UN Forum on Business and Human Rights) could have to land and environmental defenders and securing collective rights. 

Read the story

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Cambodia: A 75-year-old indigenous rights defender

Until recently, the last members of the indigenous Souy people lived peacefully on their ancestral territory. But the arrival of a sugar cane company, with ties to the President, meant they lost access to their land and waterholes. The company mustered the support of the police, and when villagers began blocking the roads, the company used force to remove them, and many villagers were arrested or beaten. IWGIA tells the story of a courageous 75-year-old woman, who helped the Souy defend their land against this invading agribusiness.

Read the story


Indonesia: Customary community of Nagari Koto Baru

As land disputes over palm oil plantations in West Sumatra, Indonesia flare up, community leaders and human rights defenders are being subjected to increasing intimidation and criminalisation by local police allegedly spurred on by planters. 

Read the story

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Nigeria: Open letter regarding ongoing harassment, criminalisation, human rights abuses and deforestation in the Ekuri forest.

The Indigenous Ekuri community have been peacefully resisting deforestation on their lands, but in response they have faced threats and intimidation from the logging company. 

This open letter calls on the Government of Nigeria to take action to stop these human rights violations that threaten the collective survival of the community and the Ekuri forest.

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Ecuador: Open Letter - Serious human rights violations and criminalisation of HRDs by Palm Oil company in Nestlé's supply chain

Palm Oil company Energy & Palma has been using Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) to criminalise defenders in Ecuador. Afro-descendant land rights defenders have been ordered to pay fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result of peacefully protesting against Energy & Palma's illegal occupation of their land. Nestle's attempts to establish a mediated dialogue process were full of irregularities.


The letter urges Nestlé to take concrete measures to halt the human rights impacts and environmental harms connected with Energy & Palma's operations.

Read the full open letter here


Guatemala: REPSA's response to Open Letter on palm oil sourcing is misleading and fails to take responsibility for rights violations and environmental disaster

On June 10, 2021, a variety of national and international NGOs sent an Open Letter to multinational companies that were sourcing palm oil from Reforestadora de Palma S.A (REPSA) in Guatemala, which is linked to rights violations and ecocide. 

REPSA issues a response in which it claimed to have resolved issues stemming from two oil spills, but this is not the case. This second letter, dated January 2022, calls again on multinationals to stop all sourcing of palm oil from REPSA until these issues are resolved. 

Read the full letter in English and in Spanish

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Human rights defenders: Consumer Goods Forum companies must prevent violence and killings in supply chains 

The agribusiness sector has seen a 60% increase in killings of human rights defenders in the last year, most of them indigenous peoples.

“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.


“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.”

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Brazil: IWGIA condemns killing of indigenous leader in Brazil

Emyra Waiãpi, a 68-year-old indigenous leader, was stabbed to death as around 50 gold miners, a dozen of whom were heavily armed, entered the remote Waiãpi indigenous reserve in the northern Brazilian state of Amapá. IWGIA condemns the killing of the Waiãpi leader and all indigenous peoples who are defending their rights to their traditional lands, which are rapidly being exploited in the global land rush for natural resources.

Read the story

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Indonesia: Open Letter - Ongoing criminalization, human rights abuses, and land grabbing by Astra Agro Lestari and subsidiaries

Representatives from Indigenous Peoples, civil society,
and community-based organizations around the world sent an open letter to household consumer goods companies demanding they immediately suspend Indonesia's second largest palm oil company, Astra Agro Lestari from their supply chains and work to redress the grievances of impacted communities.

The letter is directed at the “Forest Positive Coalition” of the Consumer Goods Forum – a consortium of the world’s top consumer brands – ahead of its meeting during NYC Climate Week 2022.

Read the full open letter in English and in Bahasa Indonesian.

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Colombia: Open letter against the criminalization, delegitimization and smear campaigns of ZTI member Danilo Rueda.

This open letter, signed by organisations from across the world, stands in support of Colombian human rights organisation Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz. It highlights the attacks carried out against Justicia y Paz's legal representative Danilo Rueda, and other human rights defenders in Colombia.


Danilo has been subject to a smear campaign against him by powerful sectors of the Colombian media and political class. These accusations, attacks and smear campaign have put Rueda's life and integrity at risk. Danilo is a member of the ZTI steering group.

Read the full open letter here


Colombia: Illegal mining leads to grave human rights violations in Cañamomo Lomaprieta Indigenous Reserve

International and national non-governmental and academic organisations have sent a letter to Colombian governmental and security authorities to highlight their concern about illegal mining in the Resguardo Indígena de Origen Colonial Cañamomo Lomaprieta.

The letter states their concern about the lack of implementation of the orders of Colombia's Constitutional Court Decision T530 of September 2016. This Court Decision reiterates the Resguardo Cañamomo Lomaprieta's right to self-govern their own territory and create their own regulations regarding mining on their land. 

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Peru: Shipbo-Konibo community of Santa Clara de Uchunya

The Shipibo-Konibo community of Santa Clara de Uchunya are struggling against the dispossession and devastation of their ancestral lands due to the aggressive expansion of oil palm. As well as negatively impacting food security and destroying their way of life, the company’s presence has driven fierce competition for control over lands between groups of settlers dedicated to land-trafficking and exposed the Shipibo-Konibo indigenous community to intimidation, threats and attacks. 

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Colombia: The Arhuacos’ last stand in the heights of Sierra Nevada

The Sierra Nevada of Santa Maria is rich in precious minerals. 261 mining concessions have already been given, and a further 244 concessions are pending . However, the indigenous Arhuacos have not been included in these decisions and processes. In 2017, this led to a massive protest against the mining projects and their destructive impact on their territories.

“For we Arhuaco, our territory is the basis of our knowledge and it forms the setting in which our culture is able to develop”, says Rubiel Zalabata.

Read the story, and watch a short film about the Arhuacos from IWGIA here

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