Greenpeace Campaigner in the Democratic Republic of Congo. © Kevin McElvaney / Greenpeace
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Kinshasa, 13 February 2020 Greenpeace Africa joins a call for the release of five community leaders from Yalifombo, who will again appear in court next week in Kisangani after their arbitrary arrest last September. The accused are from villages affected by the plantations of Canadian multinational Feronia, whose scandalous practices have been exposed by GRAIN and Human Rights Watch.

“To protest land grabbing and defend the interest of the community is a basic right and for the victims of Feronia a fundamental imperative of survival. The five local leaders jailed for demanding that the firm respect its social commitments are being held in inhuman conditions. At a previous hearing, their request for release on bail was refused. Greenpeace joins other groups to demand their immediate release and the dropping of all charges,” said Dr. Raoul Monsembula, Central Africa Regional coordinator for Greenpeace at Kinshasa. 

“It’s environmental criminals who belong behind bars – not people standing up against injustice,” he said. In 2009, Feronia acquired Plantations et huileries du Congo (PHC) from Unilever, three colonial rubber plantations covering over 100,000 ha. The development banks of Germany, the UK, France and Belgium, among others, actively finance the company. 

“The jailed leaders are demanding that the school, health post, and water pump they were promised by the company be delivered before their lands are integrated into the Lokumete estate,” Dr. Monsembula explains. “Given that expanding the plantation will accelerate the destruction of the forests that are the communities’ main asset, the infrastructure promised by Feronia is nothing but updated colonialism,” he concluded.

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