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Irish Coalition for Business and Human Rights stage mock protest to highlight Palm Oil plantation issues and push for the EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive.
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.”
Today we held a mock protest at St. Stephen’s Green to highlight the serious issue of Palm Oil plantations around the world that are contributing to deforestation, violent attacks against human rights defenders and people being forcibly evicted from their land.
Members of the… pic.twitter.com/oFEHpL8rqU
— Trócaire (@trocaire) May 2, 2023
“Human rights defenders who stand up against corporate abuses are on the front line of injustice and violence – often paying the ultimate price. In 2022, Front Line Defenders and allies from the HRD Memorial documented that over 190 environmental, land and indigenous peoples’ rights defenders were murdered defending their human rights. We need mechanisms like the EU corporate sustainability due diligence directive to involve and protect human rights defenders who most feel the impacts of corporate abuse,” said Olive Moore, Interim Director of Front Line Defenders.
BREAKING: Our palm oil plantation for Stephen’s Green just got approved!
Learn more here: https://t.co/KeLzUL1Y7S pic.twitter.com/va6OCKSGtp
— ShamPalm Industries (@ShamPalmIreland) May 2, 2023
Sorcha Tunney, coordinator of the Irish Coalition for Business and Human Rights, said: “Our tongue-in-cheek stunt today is intended to raise a really serious issue. Later this month our MEPs will have the chance to vote in the European Parliament to introduce historic new human rights and sustainability rules for corporations. We are calling on our Irish MEPs to make sure these rules are strong and effective. We need to prevent human rights and environmental damage, not just connected to Palm Oil, but across all sectors, whether related to garments, mining, or modern slavery.”
She added: “We also need to make sure that this new EU Due Diligence directive allows communities to access justice. To support these people to be able to take cases, because at present if you are from a small village in Honduras and you try to take a huge international company to court, it’s a David versus Goliath struggle that you will most likely lose.”
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The Irish Coalition for Business and Human Rights (ICBHR) is a coalition of civil society organisations, academic experts and trade unions working collaboratively to progress corporate accountability, based on respect for human rights and the environment. Members include: Trócaire, Oxfam Ireland, Action Aid, Christian Aid Ireland, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Friends of the Earth, Front Line Defenders, National Women’s Council, Fairtrade Ireland, Trinity Centre for Social Innovation, Trinity Business School, Comhlámh, GLAN, Proudly Made in Africa, Trinity Law School, Partner Africa, Centre for Business and Society (CeBaS) UCD, Oxfam, LASC, Irish Council for Civil Liberties, and the Africa Europe Faith Justice Network. Find out more at https://www.icbhr.org