No Blood for Palm Oil

By Rainforest Action Network
Funeral Procession Protesting Police Brutality in Indonesia
In November 2010, Brimob was implicated in another killing that took place in Jambi associated with a pulp and paper plantation. Photo Courtesy of: CAPPA

The land grab crisis in Indonesia is getting worse — with tragic consequences.

On Tuesday, six unarmed villagers were shot while harvesting palm oil fruit on their own land.

Jakarta Globe’s Jan. 16 article reports the villagers had an ongoing conflict with Kresna Duta Agroindo, a palm oil subsidiary of Sinar Mas, when they were attacked by the notorious National Police’s Mobile Brigade (Brimob) in Jambi province last Saturday.

In Indonesia there are constant complaints of corrupt, militia-like police brigades. One can’t help but wonder the extent to which land-hungry pulp & paper and palm oil corporations are willing to manipulate the situation in order to evict communities from their traditional lands and clear the way for corporate industrial expansion, all in the name of producing cheap commodities for global markets.

What can we do here in the US to counter these terrible human rights violations?

A decent start is for US companies to only do business with suppliers that can provide products free of social and environmental controversy. Our allies on the ground in Indonesia are petitioning the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil to (once again) attempt to revoke the membership of Sinar Mas — perhaps Indonesia’s leading land grabber and forest destroyer.

Cargill: Stop Sourcing Palm Oil from Sinar Mas!
Click this image to tell Cargill to stop sourcing Palm Oil from Sinar Mas!

It’s disappointing that Sinar Mas has only received a tacit “probation” status in the RSPO while doing bad business as usual.

But regardless of the (in)action of the RSPO, this serious problem is something US companies should not be exacerbating. No company should be sourcing palm oil from such unethical suppliers, period. Cargill Incorporated, as the #1 importer of palm oil to the US, must stop importing palm oil tainted with the blood of innocent people.

This isn’t the first time the palm oil and pulp & paper industries are associated with the deaths of Indonesian civilians.

But shouldn’t it be the last?

Tell Cargill CEO Greg Page to stop allowing his company to support human rights abuses in Indonesia.