Profits over Human Rights

by Bryan McGaw on November 15, 2013 - 6:39pm

        In this article posted by The Guardian on November 6th 2013, there are plantations of Palm Oil trees and the companies running them are destroying the tropical forests, the wildlife, and not respecting human rights. The company Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is based in Indonesia, Liberia, Philippines, Malaysia, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon, these countries plantations where visited by international human rights groups to see if they are following the guidelines of what is right and wrong. Local communities accused these companies of not following the guidelines and respecting human and land rights. With global demands for Palm Oil are rising, this has caused a rapid expansion of plantations and resulting in environmental and social conflicts. “Since its founding the RSPO has adopted good standards, but too many member companies are not delivering on these paper promises,” said Norman Jiwan, Director of Human Rights group Transformasi Untuk Keadilan Indonesia. A report stated that almost 11 hectares of land has been destroyed to make way for plantations and this has caused growing alarm from the people living in these areas and is taking a great toll on the wildlife, like the Tiger. Reports say that the Indonesian legal system is “unjust” as it allows land to be exploited by these companies without regard for the people and their rights, land laws also favor the companies over the people and their rights. There has been much effort but little has changed, "We can point to one or two good results on the ground, but there are thousands of land conflicts with oil palm companies in Indonesia alone, and the problem is now spreading to other parts of Asia and Africa. We are calling for an urgent and vastly expanded response to this crisis" said executive director of Sawit Watch, Jefri Saragih.


        I am defiantly not in favor of the companies in this situation. To me, no matte the demand of Palm Oil in the world there is no need to force people to leave there homes and kill endangered wildlife like tigers and orangutans. There should be a better way to make their money without all the destruction. My opinion is that the money should not come before the well being of people and destruction of the environment but in a world of globalization, production and profits are worth more to some people then others wellbeing is the biggest crime of all.



Your summary is very interesting, the article is well explained and it is easy to follow your idea. The situation demonstrate a common issue: is money more important than human rights? If we look at what it is done in the world, we can easily said yes... But this summary questions us and allows a reflection on the issue. Environment, animals and humans rights are not respected. Inform the population of this unfair situation is one big step. I wish one day we would be able to stand and help. This way, you could provide improvement.

I find your summary very interesting indeed, it's well written and I quickly understood what you meant. Money was always, and will always, be more important than actual human rights to many selfish people on this Earth. It's actually very sad to see how much they don't care about what kind of damages they are causing around them. (edited)

I believe your summary was very thorough. I do believe I am missing something here though. It seems as if this article was based mainly on environmental issues rather than human rights, so I am confused as to why your focus is on human rights. I also want to point out that the companies are not directly killing wildlife, but removing their habitat. I agree that it is morally wrong to do that, but there are going to be people who will disagree because, in order to stay in business, they have to plant more trees.

I didn't know what palm oil was or what it was used for until this semester when I learned about it in my nutrition class. It is a very highly saturated oil and is used in all sorts of things such as popcorn and especially the buttery movie theater popcorn. I knew that most of palm oil is made overseas but I didn't exactly know where. Unfortunately, many of the big manufacturers abuse the land and people around it no matter what the product or where it's stationed. I'm glad that you found this article, because now there are more people who know about this issue who might not have known before. I hope that the conditions improve in Indonesia regarding the environment and human rights, but I do think that this is a global issue that needs to be taken on. Hopefully if small changes are able to be maintained, then we can hope for some of the bigger changes to these corporations to stick as well. Great job!

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