Tuesday, August 30, 2016

[biofuelwatch] Herakles Farms: US Government Bullied Cameroon into Land Grab Lease


Herakles Farms: US Government Bullied Cameroon into Land Grab Lease

August 30, 2016

Oakland, CA—As the Cameroonian government decides whether or not to extend Herakles Farms' lease for a palm oil plantation this November, a new report by the Oakland Institute reveals how bullying by US government officials may have played a critical role in the initial granting of nearly 20,000 ha in 2013, instead of the cancellation of a clearly flawed project.

Backroom Bullying: The Role of the United States Government in the Herakles Farms’ Land Grab in Cameroon -Report Cover

Herakles Farms made international headlines in 2012 when the company embarked on a plan to deforest over 73,000 ha of pristine rainforest to create a palm oil plantation in southwest Cameroon. As exposed by the Oakland Institute, the project was full of problems—the company violated national laws of Cameroon, ignored court orders to cease work, and moved forward despite massive opposition from local communities. Despite these serious issues, in November 2013 President Paul Biya signed a series of Presidential decrees granting the company nearly 20,000 ha of land for three years.

"It was shocking that President Biya signed the decrees despite themountain of evidence exposing the vast social, economic, and environmental consequences of the project," commented Frederic Mousseau, Policy Director at the Oakland Institute. "We now know that behind the scenes, US government officials were applying serious pressure to the Cameroonian government to grant Herakles Farms the land."

Using information obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Backroom Bullying: The Role of the United States Government in the Herakles Farms' Land Grab in Cameroon, reveals the bullying tactics of the US government. It also exposes the blatant contradictions between the US government's support to Herakles Farms and US-funded projects to protect the environment, the wildlife, the forest, and to fight illegal logging in Cameroon; and that the Cameroonian government was sympathetic to and concerned about local opposition to the project, suggesting that US pressure may have been a critical factor in the decision.

"This November, the government of Cameroon will decide whether to extend Herakles Farms' lease or end the project for good," continued Mousseau. "By exposing the dubious tactics of the US government, we hope that Cameroonian officials will side with the people and bring an end to this project that remains unfavorable to the people and the economy of Cameroon."


The cables obtained through the Freedom of Information Act can be found atwww.oaklandinstitute.org/herakles-cables and the full report is available at http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/us-bullies-cameroon-herakles



Posted by: almuth@ernsting.wanadoo.co.uk


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Monday, August 29, 2016

[Biofuelwatch] Bring Monsanto to Justice - support the Monsanto Tribunal!

Bring Monsanto to Justice - support the Monsanto Tribunal!
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Dear supporter,

From 14th - 16th October this year, there is an unprecedented international action to bring Monsanto to justice - the Monsanto Tribunal - and it needs our help and support. 

Biofuelwatch is officially supporting this important environmental justice campaign as an organisation, but they need more support from individuals in order to raise funds and raise awareness. Can you donate to the Tribunal and spread the word?

Monsanto has a hundred year-long history of threatening life, human and otherwise, on this planet. Its dossier of products reads like a list of scandals of the 20th Century; starting out as an industrial chemical company, it was a major manufacturer of plastics in the 1920s to 1940s. In the latter half of the century, it produced
Agent Orange, DDT, PCBs (a highly persistent pollutant that affects fertility), and bovine growth hormone.

However, its most infamous products are its line of glyphosate-resistant GMO crops, called "Roundup ready", sold alongside the pesticide "Roundup". These crops have devastating effects: as well as the real danger to biodiversity through overuse of the pesticide and hybridisation of the GMO crops with wild plants, the seeds are patented, forcing farmers to buy them afresh every year. This has caused numerous social problems, driving small farmers out of business and decimating traditional farming methods.

It has proven incredibly difficult to hold Monsanto accountable for their actions, as they've effectively avoided justice through lobbying regulators and government, pressuring scientists and the press and settling out of court with those who bring cases against them.

However this is set to change with the independent Monsanto Tribunal and Peoples' Assembly at the Hague in October. The tribunal is gathering testimonies against Monsanto from people all over the world, which will be presented by top lawyers. A panel of international judges will hear the evidence, and hand down a verdict on whether Monsanto has violated the human rights to food, health, a safe environment and freedom of scientific research. It will also judge whether Monsanto has been complicit in war crimes and can be said to have committed ecocide.

The judges will not be able to convict Monsanto, but the ruling could have a massive effect, setting a precedent to bringing justice to other victims of multinationals, and possibly paving the way for an international law against ecocide.

However, the Tribunal still needs to secure funds to go ahead. To help ensure this important Tribunal takes place, you can:

By uniting from all over the world, we can spell the beginning of the end for Monsanto!

Thank you,

The Biofuelwatch Team

2016 Biofuelwatch

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