Sierra Leone: 1,475 MALOA members sign petition objecting to the RSPO certification of SOCFIN
The Malen Affected Land Owners and Users Association (MALOA) has submitted a petition signed by 1,475 of its members objecting to the certification of SOCFIN by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The Association which has been questioning the way their lands were acquired from land owners in Sahn Malen by SOCFIN since 2011, wrote the following in their petition from the 10th of March 2022:
Among other issues, the following are in total contradiction to the RSPO criteria and were wrongly assessed by the auditors:
- The auditors were provided with vehicles and translators by the company to carry out their duty, undermining their independence
- Several town chiefs and section speakers have been removed by our Paramount Chief for not agreeing with the operations of the company. New ones have been appointed without proper elections. We are not represented by representatives of our own choosing.
- Armed Security men raid homes and villages and loot properties of peaceful citizen in search for stolen fruits and palm oil belonging to SAC.
- Some of our members did not willingly lease their lands to SAC. They were not consulted and their land were taken away by force.
- MALOA is not allowed to hold meeting within the Chiefdom of Sahn Malen
- Our lands have not been properly mapped and we do not have any adequate titles showing the amount of acres of land that we own
- Most of our members have received no lease payment or less than they should from the land lease fees distributed by the Paramount Chief or SAC
- The conflict resolution process initiated in 2019 by the Vice-President, as well as the report of the Technical Committee, are not taken into account
In addition, we reiterate our demand that the conflict resolution process initiated be restarted and finalized in order to respond to the demands of the communities, to renegotiate the agreements adequately and to put an end to any abuse of human rights of the citizens of Malen.