Liberian communities continue to resist landgrabbing by UK company Equatorial Palm Oil

Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) | 10 December 2013
Palm wine tapper - Voinjama, Liberia

Liberian communities continue to resist landgrabbing by UK company Equatorial Palm Oil

MONROVIA, LIBERIA, December 10th 2013 – The RSPO complaint by Liberian communities extends to Equatorial Palm Oil’s new majority shareholder Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK).
On September 18th SDI filed a complaint to the RSPO on behalf of three hundred and sixty-three (363) households in eleven (11) villages affected by the expansion of the Equatorial Palm Oil (EPO) plantation expansion in District Number 4, Grand Bassa County, Liberia [1].
Since this time a Malaysian company Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK) [2] has acquired a majority share of 54.8% in the UK listed company Equatorial Palm Oil [3]. As a result the original RSPO complaint has now been registered as jointly against EPO and KLK.
“As the majority shareholder, KLK now bears equal responsibility to ensure that this complaint is resolved satisfactorily and that the communities’ rights over their land and resources are respected” says Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor, SDI campaigner.

The complainants claim that Equatorial Palm Oil (EPO) has already cleared some of their customary land and planted oil palm on the cleared land without their consent, and that EPO wants to expand its plantation further onto their customary land, without their consent.

“Communities have clearly stated their opposition to further expansion onto their customary land and both companies are expected respect this decision” says Jonathan Yiah, Coordinator of SDI.

“EPO’s operations have been marred with violence, harassment and intimidation towards the affected communities and there is huge potential for conflict if EPO continues to disregard the communities’ concerns. EPO’s refusal to engage directly with communities in relation to their customary land has resulted in a breakdown in dialogue between the parties” says Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor, SDI campaigner, “As a result it is vital that the RSPO takes urgent action to ensure communities’ concerns are addressed and this complaint is resolved”.

For more information contact:
Jonathan W. Yiah, Coordinator at SDI: +231 (0) 770001453
Silas Siakor, Campaigner at SDI: +44 (0) 744 852 0958
Email: [email protected]

1. See
2. KLK currently has another RSPO complaint filed against it from communities in Papua New Guinea. The communities claim the company has illegally acquired its customary land and the case is currently under investigation. Accessible at:
3. See
Original source: SDI

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