Pages tagged "human'"

RAN Stands With Jaka. Will You?

CPO_720x720 Jaka, pictured here, was 14 years old when he began working on the palm oil plantation. 

My name is Ratri Kusumohartono, and I've traveled here from Indonesia to bring the story of palm oil to the top executives of PepsiCo at the company's annual shareholder meeting. I work for Sawit Watch, which means “Palm Oil Watch” in Indonesian. We are one of Indonesia's leading palm oil advocacy groups, working directly with palm oil laborers who are fighting for decent working conditions and local communities who are resisting or who have lost their forest and livelihoods to large-scale oil palm expansion.

I need you to stand behind me as I tell PepsiCo about the real costs of Conflict Palm Oil. Will you add your voice to mine?

Palm oil expansion isn’t just about deforestation and ecosystems; it’s also having a huge impact on the communities that live here. I've seen these impacts on communities and workers first hand. Last year, I travelled to a palm oil plantation in East Kalimantan to see if workers were being treated fairly. I was faced with a stark reality. I met a 16 year old boy, Jaka, who had been working in the plantation for over two years. At 14, Jaka left his hometown because he was given false promises of a high salary and good living and working conditions. After traveling over a thousand miles by boat, plane and bus to arrive at the plantation, Jaka found a very different reality than what he was promised. But by the time he realized he had been deceived, he was trapped in debt to the labor recruiter, far from home, and the company did not even provide an adequate supply of clean water and food. The conditions were so poor that Jaka had to drink and bathe from the trench where the plantation’s waste runs.

This is why Conflict Palm Oil is able to be sold so cheaply to snack food companies like PepsiCo. 14 year old boys like Jaka are bearing the real costs of palm oil production. This is not OK, it has to stop.

Please, stand with me, with Jaka, and with all of the affected communities whose homes and lands are threatened, who have had their land stolen in land grabs, or worse, have suffered violence and injury at the hands of the palm oil companies.

Jaka is not alone. His story is only one example of the exploitation and devastation that Conflict Palm Oil is causing for communities, workers and forests across Indonesia. PepsiCo needs to adopt a global responsible palm oil policy that requires all the palm oil it sources to be fully traceable, legally grown, and free of deforestation, peatland destruction and human and labor rights violations.

Working together on the ground in Indonesia and in the markets in the U.S, PepsiCo will hear our message. Call on PepsiCo to cut Conflict Palm Oil.


Ratri Kusumohartono

Urgent: Papua New Guinea Tribes Under Threat from Conflict Palm Oil

[caption id="attachment_22612" align="alignleft" width="300"]The people of Collingwood Bay. Photo: Erik Wakker The people of Collingwood Bay. Photo: Erik Wakker[/caption] The Indigenous communities of Collingwood Bay, Papua New Guinea are engaged in a high stakes battle to defend their land and culture from the threat of Conflict Palm Oil expansion and they have a quick and easy request for help right now. Much of RAN’s forest team is currently in Medan, Sumatra for the annual meeting of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and we are honored to be hosting Adelbert Gangai and Lester Seri, community leaders who have traveled from their home in Papua New Guinea to represent their people in urging the RSPO to protect their ancestral lands. [caption id="attachment_22613" align="aligncenter" width="550"]This small community is fighting a palm oil giant. Photo: Erik Wakker This small community is fighting a palm oil giant. Photo: Erik Wakker[/caption] Early this year, the Indigenous communities of the fertile and unspoiled Collingwood Bay region learned that notorious palm oil company – and RSPO member - Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK) was claiming ownership of three large land development licenses within their customary territory. Community representatives quickly filed a formal complaint with the RSPO last April, but while other complaints filed more recently have progressed through the complaint process, the Collingwood Bay case has been essentially ignored by the RSPO. Please send a message asking the RSPO to immediately take steps to resolve this urgent case. In just the last week, KLK has been discovered moving ahead with development by bringing oil palm seedlings for planting onto Collingwood Bay lands, making immediate resolution of this case of the utmost urgency. [caption id="attachment_22616" align="aligncenter" width="550"]KLK has brought seedilngs here for planting, despite opposition from the people who call Collingwood Bay home. KLK has brought seedilngs here for planting, despite opposition from the people who call Collingwood Bay home.  Photo: Erik Wakker[/caption] KLK’s latest development proposal is every kind of wrong. It is the ugly face of Conflict Palm Oil and it would create an entirely predictable and preventable disaster for the people and wildlife of Papua New Guinea. The land in question covers over 100,000 acres of primary forest, community gardens, traditional hunting grounds, and broadly scattered coastal and riverside villages. It is community-owned land that is the home and source of livelihood for nine tribes speaking six languages representing 326 clans. This land dispute pits a deeply rooted traditional community with a subsistence-based economy against a major foreign company infamous for its intransigence and human rights violations. You may remember KLK as the company that RAN exposed using slave labor on its plantations in Borneo as far back as 2010 and child labor on plantations in Sumatra in July of this year. Even among its peers in the shadowy world of Conflict Palm Oil producers, KLK is among the worst of the worst offenders. Under the Papua New Guinea constitution, it is illegal for customary lands to be bought or sold without a lengthy review process that requires the explicit consent of all community members. In 2010, all nine chiefs issued a strong statement that irrevocably stated their disapproval of any plans to introduce the palm oil industry in their area. [caption id="attachment_22615" align="aligncenter" width="550"]The people of Collingwood Bay rely on this crucial ecosystem. The people of Collingwood Bay rely on this crucial ecosystem. Photo: Erik Wakker[/caption] These communities have a long history of defending their territory from would-be corporate land grabbers. In fact, as a result of their efforts, the National Court of Papua New Guinea ruled in 2002 that the leases for the exact parcels KLK now claims to own were illegitimate and illegal. KLK says the newly issued licenses are now legal, but community consent has not been acquired and the circumstances they were issued under are highly suspicious and are currently under review by the courts again. The Collingwood Bay dispute is a critical and high profile test of the legitimacy of the RSPO’s complaint resolution process. The RSPO exists in large part to help resolve conflicts of just this sort between companies and communities. Unfortunately, in practice this RSPO process has proven to be largely a failure and this case exemplifies the problem. Your voice matters—the RSPO hides behind claims of sustainability. Tell the RSPO that land grabs aren't sustainable or acceptable. RAN and our allies are watching this case closely as it has been over half a year since the RSPO received the Collingwood Bay communities' formal complaint. Allowing industrial palm oil development by an RSPO member company to destroy primary forest within customary Indigenous territory against the consent of its ancestral owners would go against everything the RSPO is supposed to stand for and would bring into question for many what purpose the organization serves. [caption id="attachment_22617" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Pristine forest. Photo: Erik Wakker Pristine forest. Photo: Erik Wakker[/caption] To gain credibility in the eyes of the market and in communities impacted by palm oil development, it is crucial that the RSPO implement its existing standards and follow through with enforcement against member companies when breaches such as this case are brought to light. Please take a moment to express your solidarity with the tribes of Collingwood Bay and ask the RSPO to resolve their complaint against KLK immediately.   [caption id="attachment_22619" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Area of concern. Photo: Barcelona Field Studies Centre Area of concern. Photo: Barcelona Field Studies Centre[/caption]

Sign in to