Members of the Irish Coalition for Business and Human Rights (ICBHR) staged a successful mock protest at St. Stephen’s Green to raise awareness of the serious issue of global Palm Oil plantations that are contributing to deforestation and violent attacks and evictions against human rights defenders.
Under a banner saying ‘Don’t Dig up the Green’, the coalition marched in opposition to plans by a fictious company ‘Sham Palm Industries Limited’ to create a 5-acre Palm Oil plantation in Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green.
The coalition, made up of twenty leading civil society organisations, unions, leading business, and human rights academics, staged the event as part of a campaign to put pressure on Irish MEPs to take action ahead of the upcoming key vote on the EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive in the European Parliament.
Speaking at the protest, Trócaire CEO, Caoimhe de Barra said: “Of course, there’s no actual plans to dig up St. Stephen’s Green for a Palm Oil plantation, that would be absurd! But what’s even more absurd is that many of the communities we work with around the world are under attack, being forced out of their homes and are losing their land, all to satiate the global demand for palm oil. This lucrative commodity is found in so many of our everyday products, such as our breakfast cereals, shampoo and cosmetics.”
Jim Clarken, Oxfam Ireland CEO, continued: “We’ve come together today to highlight the scandalous fact that communities are being forcibly evicted from their homes by big business. It is equally as scandalous that this demand for Palm Oil is causing significant environmental damage around the world, including mass deforestation and species loss. This is happening against the backdrop of an out-of-control climate crisis. We wouldn’t let this reckless behaviour by corporations happen in St. Stephen’s Green or anywhere in Ireland and we can’t let it happen elsewhere in our world.”