On January 8th, 2020, Green Advocates International (GAI) filed a lawsuit against the Salala Rubber Corporation (SRC) staff in Margibi County, alleging that these staff led attacks and used violence against the community residents and GAI staff. The residents provided that these attacks and violence emerged after the pro-company group “disrupted a series of meetings” that were to be participated by the residents and the GAI staff. In fact, these meetings were intended to inform the residents of the complaint’s status which was filed with the International Financial Corporation (IFC) against the SRC in 2019—that is, the IFC’s complaint against SRC for alleged land grab and other rights abuses. The residents further provided that the latest attacks have also led some residents and victims including local activists to flee the area due to fear for their lives. Those who were left behind are also currently living in fear. Nonetheless, numerous individuals have been arrested “in connection to the incident and awaiting trial, while some are on the run.”
In regard to the 2019 IFC complaint, the case is still under investigation by The Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO). This investigation focuses on issues of land grab, economic displacement, loss of livelihood, labor rights violation, gender-based violence, and threats of reprisals and intimidation by SRC. This complaint was originally due to “a series of contentions over the failure to pay compensation for damaged crops and the lack of farmlands for local communities to cultivate” and the longstanding land dispute in Margibi and neighboring Bong County which involved 22 villages. Through further assessment, the IFC found the communities’ complaint eligible. In terms of resolution, “the communities opted for a resolution to the dispute with the company,” whereas the company preferred a compliance audit option.
- Source: business-humanrights.org