APT: FoEA Africa Remarks

APT: FoEA Africa Remarks

Distinguished guest, Esteemed Jury, Participants in the 1st APT, both virtually and in person, Media representatives (local and international), Comrades from FOEA and FOEI, Ladies and gentlemen.

It is our unique pleasure to welcome you to this APT, the first of its kind, but certainly, not the last. Indeed, we are grateful for your participation.

Globally, there is documented evidence that Commercial Agricultural expansion is one of the major drivers of deforestation and biodiversity loss. This is a fact.

It is also a fact that increasing expansion in plantations is likely to result in accelerating environmental degradation in the global context. Surprisingly little attention has been given to the actual impacts of global expansions in palm plantations, Eucalyptus plantations, rubber and other agro-commodities. In fact, corporate lobbyists have made every effort to greenwash these impacts by taking advantage of initiatives such REDD+, RSPO other certification schemes.

There exist cases where such investment exacerbates existing conflicts and create new ones leading to the killing of environmental and human right defenders. Research shows that, about 200 environmental and human right defender killings were reported in 2016 alone, and 207 were reported in 2017. The majority of these incidents were directly linked to contestations over landgrabbing and agro-industrial expansion projects.

We also know that, African governments have agreed to certification schemes alongside other regional policy frameworks, like the ACFTA, which are growth strategies based on aggressive exploitation of Africa’s natural resources. This, clearly, reflects high political endorsements of resource extraction in Africa as a development trajectory despite the evidence that this path will inevitably undermine local community livelihoods and basic human rights across the continent.

Today, there is documented evidence that Aggressive landgrabbing and deforestation is already causing a new wave of oppression and colonialization, with devastating impacts on local communities, especially women across African countries. We know this to be uniquely true.

Therefore, the unique purpose of our coming together in this first APT is to address this regional problem. For the next three days, we will be hearing more about the stark evidence and cases human right abuses, landgrabbing and deforestation led by plantation expansionists across the African Continent.

The intention and the expectation is that this tribunal will serve as a space to give visibility to human rights violations, to investigate and expose human rights abuses connected to profit-driven landgrabbing and deforestation in Africa.

We expect this tribunal to evolve into a regional MODEL to expose the social, gender and environmental impacts of industrial agribusinesses on African communities

We also expect this tribunal to become a regional Template to visibilise at the regional level, the struggles of local communities who are directly in the path of industrial agribusinesses in Africa, to present and testify to cases of human rights violations led by industrial plantation corporations in Africa, and to strengthen national and regional advocacy efforts of CSOs/communities against industrial plantations in Africa.

Distinguished guest, Esteemed Jury, Comrades,

In the context of plantation expansions in Africa, FOEA believes that there is a lot of work to be done. And we believe today we are laying the foundations for that work to begin.

FOEA believes that it’s time to solidify our Comradery and speak with one voice for human rights, gender rights and vulnerable communities in Africa. We believe the APT is setting up template for such collective action.

It is our hope , that this tribunal will soon become an accepted MODEL for regional advocacy, a regional template providing a voice to the voiceless, a platform for speaking truth to power in the times when corporate power and corporate impunity are on the rise in Africa. 

With that I will say, we will like to call on all CSOs, national and regional allies as well as CBOs to seize the opportunity made available through this APT to sow the seeds of change, to expose the corporate capture of our Governments. Let us seize this opportunity to, promote national and regional commitment to the UN Binding Treaty,

Let us seize this opportunity, to support the fight for biodiversity conservation, gender rights, water rights, for basic human rights, and to promote sustainable alternatives over destructive big-business models in Africa.

Once again, we are grateful to have you. We are grateful to our distinguished Panel of Jurists, who have agreed to sit on this APT. We are grateful to our community members.  And we look forward to a very fruitful APT.

Thank you very much!

African Peoples Tribunal to Dismantle Power of industrial Plantation Corporations, Building People Power

African Peoples Tribunal to Dismantle Power of industrial Plantation Corporations, Building People Power


Friends of the Earth Africa

 November 23, 2020

 African Peoples Tribunal to Dismantle Power of industrial Plantation Corporations, Building People Power

 LAGOS, NIGERIA, November 23, 2020 – Friends of the Earth Africa through its Forest & Biodiversity Program organises the First session of the African Peoples Tribunal from 25-27th November 2020 in Lagos Nigeria. Affected communities and civil society will bring testimonies on cases of human rights violations and environmental degradation connected with monoculture tree plantations expansion from ten countries across Africa.

The tribunal’s legitimacy is based on the principle of recognising human rights under natural, national, and international law, and reclaiming and restoring the rights of impacted peoples whose rights have been violated with impunity.

Rita Uwaka, coordinator of the African Friends of the Earth Forest and Biodiversity program says “Aggressive land-grabbing and deforestation for expansion of industrial tree plantations are causing a new wave of oppression and colonization in Africa, with devastating impacts on people, including differentiated and aggravated consequences for women.” Kwami Kpondzo, Human Rights Defenders focal point for Friends of the Earth Africa continues to explain that “In the face of ongoing social, environmental and gender injustice in Africa, defending people’s rights is crucial to dismantling corporate power and challenging the capitalist neoliberal model of industrial plantation expansion.”

In all of the ten cases, international financiers, including development banks, private banks, investment funds and pension funds from all corners of the world, are found to be controlling and financing the controversial rubber, palm oil and timber plantation companies. Amongst the accused companies are Socfin, Green Resources AS, Golden Veroleum Liberia (controlled by Golden Agri-Resources), SIAT SA, OLAM and PZ Wilmar.

Five eminent jurors will be interrogating the case presenters and provide a verdict on day three of the Tribunal.  They include Nnimmo Bassey, director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) from Nigeria, Ikal Angelei from Kenya who won the 2012 Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa and is involved in campaigns against dams, and Prof. Alfred Apau Oteng-Yeboah – a Professor of Botany at the University of Ghana.  The other two are Professor Hamudi Ismail Majamba, an Associate Professor of Law specialising in Natural Resources and Environmental Law and advocate of the High Court of Tanzania, and Ms. Makoma Lekalakala, a South African activist and Executive Director of Earthlife Africa who has long been active in social movements tackling issues from gender and women’s rights, social, economic, and environmental justice issues.

Friends of the Earth Africa is advancing the call for industrial plantation companies to stop their harmful activities across the whole continent. Friends of the Earth Africa urges public and private decision makers to work with civil society and communities to bolster the transition to community based agro-ecology and forest management land-use.

According to the network, the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities including access to and control of their own commons and livelihoods must be respected and protected.

Friends of the Earth Africa will continue to fight alongside indigenous peoples and local communities affected by transnational corporation operations to stop any attempts to expand industrial tree plantations and dismantle corporate power across African region.


 Please read a summary briefer and ten case studies here: http://africanpeoplestribunal.org/documents/

 You are invited to join an online press conference on November 27, 2020. Please contact Philip Jakpor: +234 803 725 6939 or jakporphilip@gmail.com for the details


Philip Jakpor: Director of Programmes, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa: +234 803 725 6939 or jakporphilip@gmail.com

Rita Uwaka: FoEA Forests & Biodiversity Program Coordinator: +234 803 455 3503 or riouwaka@gmail.com


Ekue Assem, Friends of the Earth Africa Communication Coordinator : +228 93 84 19 30 or darius.assem@gmail.com ;

Kwami Kpondzo, Friends of the Earth Africa Membership Development Team/HRD Focal point : +228 98 22 14 57 or kwadodzi@gmail.com

Make Big Polluters Pay

Make Big Polluters Pay

A global coalition released a liability roadmap: a first-of-its-kind tool outlining how local to global decision makers, including government officials, can hold polluting industries liable for the climate damage they knowingly cause, while unlocking climate finance needed to address the climate crisis and implement solutions.

This roadmap, released just one week before UN climate week, is the next stage in the global campaign to Make Big Polluters Pay.

Liability Roadmap

FoEA and African Climate Justice Groups’ Statement on Oil Spill in Mauritius

FoEA and African Climate Justice Groups’ Statement on Oil Spill in Mauritius

We, organizations in Friends of the Earth Africa, the African Climate Justice Group, and Friends of the Earth Japan stand in solidarity with the people and Nature of Mauritius. We send our salutes and commend the Mauritian people in their incredible collective efforts, passion and commitment towards containing the spill and its impacts. Nevertheless, we condemn in the strongest possible terms, the oil spill from a Japanese owned ship, MV Wakashio and the demonstrated incompetence of the incumbent authorities in preventing it, and in dealing with the spill’s aftermath .

The Japanese owned ship, MV Wakashio, carrying 4,000 metric tons of oil, ran aground just off the coast of the small island nation of Mauritius on July 25, 2020 and broke apart on Saturday August 15, 2020.

Over 1000 metric tons of the oil in the ship has spilled into the surrounding waters and there are concerns that more oil will spill from the ship. This spill is already and will continue to cause substantial damage to the Island’s ecosystem and local livelihoods. This without mentioning the expected long-term damage to marine environments expected from the disposal of the shipwreck after it is removed.

Mauritius is a biodiversity hotspot and the spill occurred near two environmentally protected marine ecosystems and the Blue bay marine reserve park which is a wetland of immense international significance. Coral reefs, protected lagoons and the nation’s shorelines have already been impacted.

The slow governmental response to cleanup the over 1000 tonnes of oil is adding to the severity of the impact on coral reefs, mangroves, fish spawning sites, tourism as well as fishing livelihoods, some of them tragically considered damaged beyond repair. The growing drive for natural resource exploitation, and track-record of poor management in the extractive and tourism sectors will intensify the range and frequency of such disasters, and conversely reduce the resilience of human populations to withstand them.

The true cost of this will inevitably be borne by all communities within the region.

Incidents like this clearly demonstrate why it is important to have strong laws and regulations in place to protect our ecosystems and local livelihoods. The pressure on African governments to relax the already ineffective environmental and social safeguards that exist in their energy, mining, transport, and agricultural sectors is enormous.

We note that Africa is on the frontlines of the climate crisis, bludgeoned daily by the impacts of the crisis with minimal resources to confront and reduce the impacts. The intensification of the climate crises clearly indicates that we can no longer continue with a global economic and social system that is addicted to fossil energy and other extractive industries. This will invariably lead usto the destruction and desecration of our rivers, lands, air, our common heritage, our home – Planet Earth.

In these uncertain times with the world confronting multiple crises: energy, biodiversity, hunger, indebtedness, unemployment, wars and manipulated extremism, deforestation, climate change, desertification as well as a decayed health infrastructure, to name a few, in the midst of a global COVID 19 pandemic whose roots are intrinsically linked to climate change, a disaster like this oil spill has a way of producing real change. Right now, plunged in this moment of crises, we havewe, the space to apply our collective imagination to build the framework of a new, low pollution, low carbon economic and a social development system in harmony with the dictates of our ecosystem.

The African Climate justice Group, Friends of the Earth Africa and Japan call on Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (of the Mitsui group), the Japanese company implicated in this unfortunate incident to immediately take steps to contain, cleanup and remediate the devastated ecosystem in Mauritius.

We also call for the solidarity of African and International entities to collaborate for the full restoration of the affected environments, including saving the coral reef on which the ship ran aground as much as possible to the state it was before the spill to enable the people of Mauritius to go back to their usual livelihood practices.

We call for full compensation to individuals and businesses that have lost income as a result of this incident.

We call for clean renewable, community owned and controlled energy to drive low carbon and low pollution development across Africa and an Africa wide framework to achieve this goal

We also call for the international conventions and laws that govern our seas to be tightened, and compensation for Mauritius, for the negative environmental and socio-economic impacts that are still unfolding.

We call on local communities, activists and governments to work to ensure that transnational corporations do not continue to define and drive the development process on the continent, including by supporting binding legislation to regulate these entities at national, regional and international level, in order to put an end to corporate impunity.

Ban Kamarads, pep Mauricien! PAMOJA! We are One with you in mourning the loss, and commit our best to support the recovery!


For further comment, contact:

Anabela Lemos: +258 84 447 7081 / anabela.ja.mz@gmail.com
Dipti Bhatnagar: +258 84 035 6599 / dipti@foei.org
Ekue Assem: +228 93 84 1930 / darius.assem@gmail.com
Graca Samo: +258 82 651 9040 / gracasamo@gmail.com
Micheal Keania Karikpo: +234 803 552 6729 / keania2002@yahoo.co.uk
Trusha Reddy: +27 82 795 3135 / Trusha.Reddy@womin.org.za






APT: FoEA Africa Remarks

APT: FoEA Africa Remarks

Distinguished guest, Esteemed Jury, Participants in the 1st APT, both virtually and in person, Media representatives (local and international), Comrades from FOEA and FOEI, Ladies and gentlemen. It is our unique pleasure to welcome you to this APT, the first of its...

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