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Liberia, a country located in the West coast of Africa has been hit by two civil wars (one in 1989 and the most recent one in 1999). Conflicts have left the country generally weakened and particularly in terms of food sovereignty. Far from armed conflicts, Liberians are now facing a land grabbing process that is further threatening their ability to produce their own food. As a response to this advance, a community in Grand Bassa county managed to successfully resist the encroachment of a British palm oil company, ensuring their right to the territory and their way of living.
The company in question is Equatorial Palm Oil (EPO). In January 2008, EPO acquired Liberian Operations Inc (LIBINC) and claimed around 169,000 hectares of land that the government had granted in concession to LIBINC as their own. Approximately 7,000 people of the Jogbahn clan have been living in the lands claimed by EPO for several generations.
None of the communities was consulted or gave their free, prior and informed consent for the concession granted by the government to LIBINC, as established by Liberian laws and Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Ignoring these facts, EPO tried to advance over the territories in 2012. In response to the resistance imposed by the communities, EPO´s security officers and members of the elite Liberian Police Support Unit (PSU) assaulted and arrested members of the community by the end of 2013, in a moment when the community strengthened their resistance.
This determination, together with the pressure by national and international
organizations, made Liberian President Ellen Johnson to intervene by calling community members to meet with her. After the meeting, Johnson committed to ensure the right of the community to their territory, specifying that EPO could not take their lands.
In an interview with Real World Radio, Silas Siakor, campaigner at the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI-Friends of the earth Liberia), an organization that has provided fundamental support to these communities, considered that one of the key elements in the success of this struggle was unity: "Even though the company made a sustained effort to try to bring in division within the community, they have stood together (...) the community has been extremely united. As a result of that, the resistance has been really difficult to break", he said.
As a second key element, Silas highlighted the clarity of the community in terms of their demands: they demanded EPO to “stop the land survey in Jogbahn Clan; not clear any more of their customary land; and not expand their oil palm plantation any further onto their customary land”.
Despite the victory achieved by the Jogbahn clan, Silas said that EPO has not acknowledged the Presidential statement and has continued to conduct studies of the Clan´s land in preparation for clearing.
You can listen to the complete interview in the audio attached.
Friends of the Earth International launched a video about this community, below. Stand with the Jogbahn Clan in protecting their land! Sign the petition at
Imagen: Jason Taylor/Friends of the Earth 2014
El pasado martes 26 de agosto Israel y Palestina acordaron un cese al fuego permanente, luego de una embestida del Ejército israelí contra la población de la Franja de Gaza que duró aproximadamente cincuenta días. La ofensiva asesinó más de 2130 gazatíes, la mayoría de ellos civiles, y destruyó por completo cerca de 17.000 hogares, así como escuelas, hospitales y refugios. Además, el sistema de distribución de agua corriente sufrió graves daños, y la única central eléctrica de la Franja fue bombardeada a propósito, dejando la población casi sin energía eléctrica. Este tenebroso panorama se suma al bloqueo permanente del cual es víctima la población de la Franja de Gaza, sobre el cual no hay expectativas de que Israel lo levante.
Nuestra edición de este viernes tiene dos bloques centrales: uno que se enfoca en Guatemala, con un gran triunfo en la lucha contra la Ley Monsanto y el aniversario de las consultas comunitarias sobre megaproyectos, y otro que nos acerca ecos del VI Encuentro del MAPDER en México.
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