In January 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. Although the SRC management “has since denied evicting towns and villages to develop its plantation,” it was known that the management has “deployed strategies to scare activists and local people from further pursuing the charges leveled against Liberia’s fourth-largest rubber producer.” These strategies include the ‘divide and rule’ tactic. It was alleged that there was hiring of some residents and contractors to attack and disrupt a planned citizens meeting with GAI staff. The investigation’s findings show that SRC management “paid some protesters and promised some with jobs when operation resumes.” This tactic was “intended to maintain control over affected citizens kicking against the company’s operation by encouraging dissent among residents, thereby preventing them from uniting in opposition to its operation.”

Prior to the incident, Paul Larry George, Chairman of the Alliance for Rural Democracy (ARD) provided that he and his team were “being tailed every inch of the way by company operatives, that at one point, “a group of men including Penneh who disturbed the meeting in that town, gathered on the road pointing fingers at me [George], with some saying they would follow us wherever we went”. Nonetheless, he states that these recent attacks “will not deter them from helping communities suffering corporate social abuses at the hands of the multinational corporation.” George has been in hiding after strange men repeatedly visited his home in Monrovia after the attack. Because ARD and GAI are among several local and international rights groups that work to pursue lawsuits in Europe to hold SRC accountable for gross human rights abuses that the company was and has been accused of committing against indigenous communities who were deprived of their land rights, lands, and plantations, Mr. George and other GAI team members kept putting in their efforts to rescue the victims of land rights and land deprivation in Bong and Margibi counties. For instance, despite fear and danger, they continue to do what it takes to enable Nasako Besingi, award-winning Cameroonian environmental and human rights activist, to provide his experiences on how communities can come together and fight multinational corporations whose intentions are to deprive them of their land rights and exploit the lands. Although some victims of these attacks have fled or lived in fear, Dokai Ta Town Chief, Moses K. Yah stated that the above sponsored protest action has made them stronger in their advocacy for their land.

Rubber Company, “SRC’s Scare Tactics Won’t Weaken Our Resolve”

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