International Alliance of Bolloré-Socfin plantations Local Communities and ReAct | 15/05/2015 [FR]
CONFLICT AROUND THE SOCFIN-BOLLORÉ PLANTATION: NEW OCCUPATION IN LIBERIA
Following the uprisings in Cameroon and in Cambodia, the residents of villages neighboring the Socfin plantation in Liberia are mobilizing to confront the company this Saturday 16th of May.
The conflict in the Socfin plantations continues to spread. Two weeks ago, the Socapalm plantations were blocked in Cameroon. Tomorrow, 16 May, in Gbainfien town (Liberia), residents from the 11 villages that suround the LAC rubber plantation, all dressed in white, will gather and occupy the company lands and head toward the management offices. More than 3600 people, men, women and children, challenge the company’s grabbing of their ancestral land. As members of the Transnational Alliance of Local Communities of Socfin-Bolloré plantations, they are joining the wider international movement against Socfin’s industrial plantations started in Cambodia at the end of April and continued in Cameroon.
The LAC plantation, similarly to the other plantations, belongs to the Socfin group, itself controlled by Bolloré (39% of the shares) and the Belgian Fabri family. Since 2008, the areas under cultivation have expanded on an ongoing basis. The cultivated surfaces of the Socfin African subsidiaries increased from 87 303 to 108 465ha between 2011 and 2014 (see the Socfin reports). This 24% increase often results in the encroachment of the local communities’ lands thus exacerbating tensions with local communities. After the conciliation attempt in October 2014 lead by the Bolloré group, conflict has resumed with the burning down of plantations in Cambodia in February and the blockade of plantations by residents in Cameroon in April. In their official press release, the Socfin executives deny the reality of the conflict and repeat their statement that the Socfin plantations “have always acted with respect to the communities adjacent to their plantations.”
“The Bolloré group isn’t sticking to its word and the Socfin executives do not respect their promises to the sons and daughters of the land that they occupy states Nathaniel Monway, spokesperson of the neighboring communities of LAC. An agreement was signed in 2007 to regulate the plantation expansions and ensure fair community compensations (see the agreement in the press kit). None of the agreements reached in this document have been respected. Vincent Bolloré and Hubert Fabri are reaping increasing profits without any respect for the rights of local and indigenous communities. This action will be the first of many to come if they continue to show us contempt instead of a will to dialogue.”
Nathaniel Monway : +231777594654/+231888537475