Palm Oil Violence: Wilmar’s Hired Guns Fire at Indonesian Forest Heroes

This is the worst sort of anniversary. 

Two years ago this week, armed security forces working for Wilmar shot at unarmed Indonesian villagers who had the audacity to protest the destruction of their homes.

On August 17, 2011, security forces from a Wilmar subsidiary, working with local police forces in their pocket, stormed the Sumatran village of Sungai Beruang, firing live ammo at residents and eventually destroying the entire indigenous village.

According to reports from NGO partners Watch Indonesia!, Rettet den Regenwald and ROBIN WOOD, armed security forces arrived with heavy machinery, shot at the gathered villagers to disperse any resistance, and then set out to demolish the village. All this to clear more space for palm oil plantations to fuel demand for the Rama brand of margarine, produced by Unilever with palm oil from Wilmar.  

 “This is a crime against humanity. Wilmar has blood on its hands,” said  Rivani Noor of the Indonesian NGO Cappa. “The assertion that this company produces sustainable palm oil is a lie”

For years now, bulldozers flying the Wilmar flag have been razing rainforests across the Indonesian island of Sumatra — and throughout many Indonesian and Malaysian islands — in order to plant palm oil plantations. 

In a joint statement, Watch Indonesia!, Rettet den Regenwald and ROBIN WOOD, said:

“Wilmar is waging a war against the people of Indonesia and here consumers are served palm oil products without any clue of the brutal expulsions of Indonesian people and forest destruction. Multinational food companies are making a killing, first and foremost Unilever.”

105a9248-f72a-4659-a86c-f5c9b64aaccfThe incidents two years ago in Sungai Beruang serve as a stark reminder of how Wilmar’s reckless pursuit of palm oil is not only responsible for terrible environmental damage, but also a dreadful assault on basic human rights. 

Photo credits: (Top) Cappa, (Bottom) Nordin, Save our Borneo

On August 21, 2013
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