On March 5th the Jogbahn community, from Grand Bassa County in central Liberia, celebrated a major step forward in the struggle to save their land from being grabbed by British palm oil company Equatorial Palm Oil PLC. But, they are in imminent danger unless we act now to help protect their land.
After months of negotiations and advocacy by community members in Liberia, backed by Friends of the Earth Liberia and international partners, the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, promised that the Jogbahn's land – over 20,000 hectares of pristine forest – should be recognised as the community's land. She said no company should operate there without the community's consent.
But the company is not listening.
Despite the Presidential statement, Equatorial Palm Oil is continuing to conduct surveys of the Jogbahn community's land in preparation for clearance. Equatorial Palm Oil want to use the land for environmentally destructive palm oil monocultures, devastating the Jogbahn community. Communities’ right to Free Prior and Informed Consent is a principle under both Liberian and international law.
Silas Kpanan'Ayoung Siakor, campaigner for Friends of the Earth Liberia said: "Equatorial Palm Oil must listen to the Jogbahn community and accept that their 'no' means 'no'. The continuing determination of these communities is a cautionary tale for corporations who think they can ignore communities' rights and ownership of land".
Please stand with the Jogbahn people to help protect their land: sign our petition to tell EPO to respect the Jogbahn community's rights.
Friends of the Earth International and Friends of the Earth Liberia are warning governments and investors that any investment must respect communities' rights and ownership of land.