Congo: Criminal oligarchs against indigenous people and nature

The inhabitants of Mwingi and Bolesa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo need our help: Local activists were jailed after a protest against PHC, a palm oil company.

The inhabitants of more than 100 villages are being impacted by the PHC oil palm plantations (© RIAO-RDC)

Call to action

To: the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

“We demand the release of the activists and an end to violence and land grabbing. Local people must finally get their land rights and the right to free consent.”
Read letter

Communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have suffered under palm oil companies for decades, and violence has erupted time and again: In 2015, a couple accused of stealing palm oil fruits was killed, and in 2019, the villager Joel Imbangola was beaten to death.

In February 2021, following a protest march against the palm oil company PHC, villagers, including local members of RIAO-RDC, were beaten and jailed.
Two reportedly received death threats, and women were sexually assaulted.
The occasion for the protest march was an anticipated visit by Kalaa Mpinga, the new CEO of Feronia-PHC. His Mauritius-registered corporation took over the plantations in 2020.

The villagers are accused of “inciting revolt”. Their taking photos of the protest march and giving interviews to journalists is also being held against them.

The roots of the conflict go back 110 years when the first plantations were established.

The local people were never consulted but were simply robbed of their ancestral land and thus their livelihood.

We urgently need to prevent those arrested from being transported to the provincial capital of Kisangani, where they could be held for months without charges.

Traditional chiefs in Lokutu (© RIAO-RDC)

We demand:
– the immediate release of the prisoners
– an end to violence, criminalization, and land grabbing
– respect for the human rights of local people affected by the plantations
– that the peaceful expression of opinions must not end in arbitrary arrests and violence
– that international development banks pressure their client Feronia-PHC to comply with these requirements.

Petition Letter To the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The inhabitants of many communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have suffered under the palm oil company PHC for decades.

Violence has erupted time and again: In 2015, a couple accused of stealing palm oil fruits was killed, and in 2019, the villager Joel Imbangola was beaten to death. People who stood up to the company were detained on several occasions.

In mid-February, local members of the human rights organization RIAO-RDC were wrongfully arrested in Mwingi and Bolesa after a protest march against Feronia-PHC.

Two reportedly received death threats, and women were sexually assaulted. The villagers are accused of “inciting revolt”. Taking photos of the protest march and giving interviews to journalists is also being held against them.

We demand the immediate release of the innocent protesters and an end to the violence, criminalization, and land grabbing. The local people affected by the plantations must finally get their land rights and the right to free, prior, and informed consent.

We call on the international development banks to pressure their client Feronia-PHC to comply with these requirements.

Yours faithfully,

CC:
the management of Feronia/KKM
the management of international development banks

Please sign the Petition:

https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/petitions/1233/drc-release-the-palm-oil-protesters-jailed-in-mwingi

And I mean…Where previously there was a dense jungle, now only cut tree trunks lie on top of each other.
Criminal oligarchs from the palm oil mafia are to blame for this.

25,000 hectares of forest have already fallen victim to the company’s operations. The concessions are vast: They extend over 107,000 hectares – an area roughly the size of New York City.

The oil palms are originally native to Africa, but Malaysia and Indonesia are the largest producers in the world.

According to statistics, the Democratic Republic of the Congo produced 300,000 tons of palm oil in 2013, which puts it in twelfth place, behind other African countries such as Nigeria and Ivory Coast.

Indonesia

But because the area for palm oil is slowly running out in Southeast Asia and the demand for it continues to grow on the world market, more is now to be cultivated in Africa.

That was always the fascist principle of domination of the Europeans against Africa.

The people in Africa don’t want anything for free
They just want us to stop stealing their resources.

Maybe we can help them, we owe it to them. Please sign and share.

My best regards to all, Venus

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