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|Member||Plantaciones de Pucallpa|
|Date Filed||05 December 2015|
|Category||Oil Palm Growers|
The indigenous community of Santa Clara de Uchunya and supported by the Federation for native communities of the Ucayali region (FECONAU), the Institute for Legal Defense (IDL) and the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP).
The company has allegedly been clearing community lands and destroying natural forests without any reference to RSPO standards.The company is also alleged to have planted oil palm on the native customary land of the indigenous community of Santa Clara de Uchunya in Ucayali region.
The company concerned has been clearing community lands and destroying natural forests without any reference to RSPO standards. Aerial imagery and official government reports shows that over 5200 hectares of mostly primary forest has been felled since January 20132. Fire is being used to burn cleared timber and other vegetation. Valuable timber resources have also being sold. Community testimony reveals that the company acquired rights to the respective area without any process of engagement or FPIC with the community. Furthermore, the company has been clearing extensive areas of forest without any engagement with the local communities, laying waste to large areas of forest which the communities use for hunting, fishing and gathering and as a source of medicinal plants and materials for construction, killing local wildlife and destroying their vital habitats. The area in question has been historically occupied by residents and their foreparents and includes the locations of numerous former settlements and farms that have since been left to become fallow. The operations have also extracted large volumes of important construction material from the river Aguaytia outside of the lands claimed by Plantaciones de Pucallpa and in the process used and degraded private tracks made by the community and exhausted the resources that the community depends on for their own constructions.
The operations have resulted in the destruction of at least one house owned by a community member and have blocking and despoiled the creeks and rivers which the community relies on for their fishing, bathing and drinking waters. Moreover, company personnel restrict access of community members to the area for hunting, fishing and gathering and other subsistence activities. Community testimony highlights that waste materials are being dumped into the water system and all the main streams in the affected lands are no longer fit for drinking and fishing. These include the rivers Sanuya, Sheringal and Churral amongst others. Official investigations conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture have determined that Plantaciones de Pucallpa has failed to secure the relevant permits required for forest clearance or to conduct the relevant social and environmental impact assessments. The Ministry has consequently ordered the suspension of the operations.
In addition, the community understands that the company hired large numbers of people specifically to occupy the area during the field investigations by local authorities in an attempt to deliberately frustrate these visits. This has resulted in an extremely tense and conflictive environment in which government representatives have even been threatened by company representatives. The extent of social and environmental devastation caused by these operations and the irregularities in permitting has meant these palm oil developments have become a major national controversy, as can be seen on:
Despite the suspension order, the community affirms that the company has been promoting the incursion and invasion of third parties in forested areas in areas adjacent to the area cleared by Plantaciones de Pucallpa with the objective of subsequently acquiring these areas.
This has resulted in the national indigenous peoples’ organisation (AIDESEP) to call for the suspension of all oil palm operations in Peru until contradictions and loopholes in the legal framework are resolved4 and for the Congressional Commission of the Amazon and Ecology to establish a high level national taskforce to address the issue of large scale agribusiness and social conflict.
Although we in the community have been made aware that the company in question is part of a wider network of companies in Peru known locally as ‘los Malaios’ (the Malays), which are apparently owned by the same proprietors, it was only recently that we established that it was Plantaciones de Pucallpa that was operating in community lands. It has not been possible to identify the full ownership structure of the company and the exact nature of its links to Malaysian companies as many of these companies are registered in offshore tax havens which require limited disclosure of company information. Nevertheless, as a result of the company’s own declarations to the RSPO5 as well as NGO investigations it appears that these companies are connected to Asian Plantations which in 2014 was bought by FELDA Global Ventures, a founder member of the RSPO
Having now reviewed, the standards which Plantaciones de Pucallpa should be observing as an RSPO member we note the following serious violations.
New Planting Procedure: The company has conducted their operations without filing any prior notifications with the RSPO, large swathes of primary forest have been cleared and no prior HCV or SEIA assessments have been conducted.
Principle 1. Information about the company’s plans and operations have never been shared with the community
Principle 2. The company has acquired lands customarily owned and used by the community of Santa Clara de Uchunya without their free, prior and informed consent.
The company has not provided mechanisms to resolve any of the problems being caused. The company has failed to comply with national laws prohibiting the conversion of primary forest for agricultural purposes, conversion of forest without the corresponding soil studies, environmental permits or relevant environmental and social impact assessments8. The company has violated the property rights of indigenous peoples to their customary lands, their right to the natural resources that guarantee their subsistence, their right to processes of prior consultation and consent, their right to determine their own development paths in addition to many other fundamental rights of indigenous peoples which are obligatory in Peru.9
Principle 4. Company operations have destroyed and diverted water courses as well as blocked community access to vital water supplies for fishing and drinking.
Principle 5. No EIA or HCV assessments have been carried out to ensure the protection of the environment, wildlife and the social values of natural ecosystems and mitigate damage. Lands are being cleared with the use of fire.
8 All these violations of applicable laws are detailed in the Ministry of Agriculture official report referred to in footnote 2 and 3.
9 These obligations flow from ILO Convention 169 and the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of human rights the provisions of which constitute binding obligations for Peru.
Principle 6. No participatory SIAs have been carried out. There has been no proper consultation with Santa Clara de Uchunya. Dispute resolution mechanisms are absent. Customary rights have been ignored.
Principle 7. New plantings are being established without ESIAs and HCV assessments, without recognising customary rights and without the communities’ and indigenous peoples’ free, prior and informed consent.
We here only note the most obvious violations. A more detailed perusal of the RSPO Principles and Criteria shows that there have been multiple violations of many of the Criteria and Indicators associated with the Principles noted above.
25 April 2016
RSPO sent Preliminary Decision to Plantaciones de Pucallpa.
14 May 2016
Plantaciones sent their reply to the preliminary decision of the RSPO.
18 May 2016
The company replied with allegations against the complainants.
27 May 2016
The complainant replied to the company on their letter of 11 May 2016.
11 July 2016
The member replied with part 2 of their action plan.
27 July 2016
The member sends part 3 of an action plan.
10 August 2016
The complainants gave a detailed reply to the company's response to the preliminary decision.
14 October 2016
Plantaciones de Pucallpa divests its palm oil interests and withdraws from RSPO.
3 November 2016
FPP has sent a formal letter to RSPO.
6 April 2017
An independent investigation was conducted to verify the allegations against Plantaciones de Pucallpa and to determine if Plantaciones de Pucallpa had cleared forest for its plantation, prior and post to becoming an RSPO member, and if said land included primary forests.
The Complaints Panel issued a letter on the basis of the independent verification.
31 May 2017
Secretariat following up with the Complainants.
8 August 2017
Complainants requested that the independent verification report be made public.
30 October 2017
Complaints Panel issued a letter in response to the request to publish the investigation report.
21 November 2017 (CP Meeting)
Case to be closed.
21 December 2017 (CP Meeting)
Complaints Panel to close the case.
|CP's Letter on Publishing Publication Report||30 October 2017|
|Complaints Panel Decision_Apr17||6 April 2017|
|letterrsponov2016english.pdf||3 November 2016|
|letter-pdp-to-rspo-12-october-withdrawal-fr-rspo.pdf||14 October 2016|
|response-25-ag-2016.pd||26 August 2016|
|serfor_comunicado_05.24_.16_eng_.pdf||10 August 2016|
|serfor_comunicado_05.24_.16_eng_.pdf||10 August 2016|
|pdpsuspensionsep2015oficio-dp-1564-2015.pdf||10 August 2016|
|responserspojuly2016_august9.pdf||10 August 2016|
|letter-action-plan-part-3-eng-spa.pdf||27 July 2016|
|letter-action-plan-part-2-eng-spa.pdf||7 July 2016|
|letter-action-plan-part-1-eng-spa.pdf||21 June 2016|
|fppfeconaursporeply27thmay2016_final.pdf||27 May 2016|
|ahora-washington-bolivar-v1.pdf||18 May 2016|
|article-washington-bolivar.pdf||18 May 2016|
|rspo-informative-letter-english-spanish.pdf||18 May 2016|
|letter-to-rspo-eng-spanish.pdf||14 May 2016|
|action-plan-english.pdf||8 May 2016|
|25-apr-2016-plantaciones-de-pucallpa-pre.-dec-cp_.pdf||25 April 2016|
|letter-sent-on-april-17th-to-the-co-president-of-the-fpp-board.pdf||17 April 2016|
|rspo_santaclararesponsejan2016.pdf||25 January 2016|
|feconau_complaint_plantacionesdepucallpaeng_5_dec_15.pdf||5 December 2015|
|signaturesrspocomplainteng.pdf||5 December 2015|
|letter-no.-2-to-rspo_.pdf||30 November 2015|
|sanction-from-the-dgaaa.pdf||27 November 2015|
|letter-to-rspo.pdf||21 November 2015|
|4-nov-2015-plantaciones-de-pucallpa.pdf||4 November 2015|
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