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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.