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Global Witness accuses Golden Veroleum of illegal land seizure

Moses Wenyou/Benjamin S. Taingay
Golden Veroleum  palm farm in Grand Cape Mount, Liberia
Golden Veroleum palm farm in Grand Cape Mount, Liberia

(elbcradio.com/July 24, 2015)-The Campaign group, Global Witness, has alleged that communities in Liberia are being pressured to sign away their land to make way for palm oil plantations.

Global Witness called for government’s investigation into allegations that local residents have been beaten and arrested for refusing to give away their land.

Western media quotes Global Witness as accusing the Oil Palm Company, Golden Veroleum (GVL), of ramping up land clearances during the recent Ebola outbreak.

Global Witness also accused the company of expanding its operations at the height of the Ebola outbreak in 2014, clearing thousands of acres of land while community support groups were busy dealing with the crisis.

But GVL says the agreements it signed with landowners were the culmination of extended engagement with the communities.

Making the clarification recently in a statement in Monrovia, the company said the agreements were signed many months and, in some cases, years before the start of the Ebola outbreak.

The company claimed that communities feared that it may abandon Liberia, because of the crisis, and so it made conscious decision to maintain operations.

In the report, Global Witness called for legislation to be passed recognizing that rural communities own their land.
In May 2015, there were violent protests at GVL plantation in Sinoe, where protestors vandalized the company’s assets, triggering mass police arrests.

 


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