Rainforest destruction imported duty-free

Rainforest in ColombiaEU free trade threatens rainforests

On December 11, the European Parliament will vote on a free trade agreement between the EU, Colombia and Peru. 148 conflicts with commodities companies are ongoing in Peru alone, yet human rights and environmental concerns remain sidelined. Please call on members of the Parliament to vote against this trade agreement.

Conflicts between local residents and mining companies over land and water in Peru and Colombia have worsened steadily in recent years. In August 2012, 148 environmental conflicts that cost 16 human lives were listed in Peru. The situation is even worse in Colombia. Transnational corporations are destroying the environment while maintaining documented connections to paramilitary organizations that silence critical voices. 34 trade unionists were killed in 2012 alone.

The situation threatens to escalate further with the adoption of a free trade agreement between the EU, Colombia and Peru. Binding environmental and human rights standards were removed from the agreement under pressure from the industry – despite the fact that the EU itself has noted in a report that without such standards, the free trade agreement would endanger water quality and biodiversity in both countries and promote the destruction of fragile ecosystems. Even in prior trade agreements with Colombia and Peru, these standards were more pronounced.

In addition to mining and oil drilling, palm oil plays an important role in the agreement – it is slated for duty-free import in order to satisfy Europe’s hunger for cheap vegetable oil. This is an incentive to expand the plantations in both countries. In Colombia, oil palm plantations already cover 360,000 hectares. The palm oil boom has spared Peru so far. Yet plans have been drawn up that mark over 4.3 million hectares of rainforest territory as suitable for oil palm plantations. Pilot projects are already showing the devastating effects of monocultures on the people and environment in Peru.

Please urge EU parliamentarians to reject the free trade agreement for social and environmental reasons.

Documentary: "Peru's rainforest threatened by monocultures"

Thomas Fritz analyzed the free trade agreement and summarized his conclusions in a Rainforest Rescue interview: “The dramatic aspect of this development is that human rights and environmental standards are weaker in the new free trade agreement than in the previous agreement with Colombia and Peru.Vital human rights, such as the right to food and the right to land, are missing from the agreement. And that, of course, is a very negative development.”

Sources:

Study by Thomas Fritz on the impact of the free trade agreement

EU social and environmental assessment of the free trade agreement