by Stewart Vriesinga
Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has just received documented information that Daabon has not withdrawn, nor does it intend to withdraw, from the lands of Las Pavas. Furthermore Daabon is applying to a Justice of Colombia that it be granted titles to two additional state properties. The two undeveloped properties in question, administered by the Colombian Institute for Rural Development (INCODER), were already being considered in a separate process with INCODER, in which the community of Las Pavas would receive titles to these same properties. On October 28, 2010 Daabon announced on its website that it was withdrawing from the farm of The Pavas because of lack of agreement with the community: “Our company has been severely affected by the difficulty of the Consortium in reaching sustainable agreements with the communities, which has led us to withdraw it.” (That announcement on Daabon’s website can be found here.)
The community of Las Pavas has been recognized as displaced by Acción Social (government office for assisting the displaced population) and the national government announced in October 2010 that the case of Las Pavas was part of the Emergency Plan, a program of land restitution “favouring peasant families who are victims of displacement and dispossession.”
Three weeks ago the police returned to the Las Pavas farm at the request of Aportes San Isidro (Daabon’s partner in the Consortium ‘The Labrador’) creating a tense atmosphere in the community. The company put out a public statement through local media accusing the displaced community of wanting to commit “criminal acts that, among other things, [threatens] the right to work and peace in the region.” It has now been 18 months that the peace-loving members of the Association of Peasants of Buenos Aires “ASOCAB” are forced to live outside of the land they cultivated and on which they produced food for their families and the region. 123 families are now living without work and suffering the tragedy of displacement. Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that the palm companies are those that violate the right to work and peace in the region?
Daabon should clarify publicly that its interest in continuing to occupy the Hacienda Las Pavas, contradicting statements made by them on their website about its commitment to social and environmental values. This violation of principles resulted in the cosmetics company, The Body Shop, cutting its ties with Daabon in 2010. A study commissioned by The Body Shop and another organization, showed that Papayal Island (location of The Pavas) is not suitable for palm oil production and current production is violating environmental laws and regulations.