People being shot at for palm oil for Rama margarine-producer Unilever

Joint Press Statement from

Watch Indonesia!, Rettet den Regenwald and ROBIN WOOD

Hamburg, 17th August 2011

Violence for Rama Margarine
People being shot at for palm oil for Rama margarine-producer Unilever

The organizations Watch Indonesia!, Rettet den Regenwald and ROBIN WOOD demand that consumer goods producer Unilever immediately stop the use of palm oil from the supplier Wilmar. The cause: last week Wilmar's security forces used armed violence and heavy machinery to destroy the village Sungai Beruang on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. This was the method used to crush the resistance of the villagers, who have been defending themselves against land theft by palm oil plantation owners.

The first conflicts occurred after Wilmar's security forces apprehended a villager because he wanted to sell palm oil fruits which the company claimed for themselves. Two days later security forces of the Wilmar daughter company "Asiatic Persada", together with the dreaded Indonesian police brigade Brimob, demolished the village. Brimob fired live ammunition at the villagers.

"This is a crime against humanity. Wilmar has blood on its hands. The assertion that this company produces sustainable palm oil is a lie" said Rivani Noor of the Indonesian NGO Cappa. Members of Cappa have on site documentation of the excessive violence.

Residents of the village Sungai Beruang are among the last indigenous people of Sumatra. Palm oil companies have stolen these people's traditionally-used land and thereby stolen their means of existence. The palm oil companies have clear cut the land and turned it into profitable plantations. The village of Sungai Beruang is now completely surrounded by palm oil plantations.

"Wilmar is waging a war against the people of Indonesia," is the judgement of ROBIN WOOD, Watch Indonesia! and Rettet den Regenwald, "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."

Unilever is one of the largest consumers of palm oil worldwide, and Wilmar is among its most important palm oil suppliers. ROBIN WOOD has repeatedly demanded that Unilever terminate its business relationship with Wilmar. Yet the producer of Rama, Sanella, Knorr and many other well-known food products continues to buy from the Asian robber baron.

Instead of taking action, Unilever is now trying to greenwash itself with the palm oil seal RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil). The industry controls the majority of this roundtable. Unilever and Wilmar managers are on the board of
the RSPO. To a certain extent, the industry is thereby certifying itself. Thus even companies such as Wilmar, who have no qualms about the use of force, receive the RSPO seal.


Photos of the destroyed village as well as a chronology of the events can be found in the course of the day at:


Further information (including information on the RSPO seal) at:

* * *
For further inquiry:
Peter Gerhardt, ROBIN WOOD, Tel. 01577 / 78 28 825,
Marianne Klute, Watch Indonesia!, Tel. 0176 / 24 52 65 49,
Reinhard Behrend, Rettet den Regenwald, Tel. 040 / 410 38 04,

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