News / 28 February 2018

Human Rights defenders from all over the world visit EU to call for strong measures against deforestation

This week, from 12 until 16 February, fourteen indigenous leaders and human rights defenders from forest countries came to the Netherlands to call upon Dutch policy makers to take serious action against human rights abuses, land grabbing and further deforestation in relation to large scale agriculture, timber logging and mining. The Dutch harbours of Rotterdam and Amsterdam receive enormeous amounts of soy and palm oil, both for the Dutch market and for further transport into Europe and elswhere.

Call to action

The production of these goods cause the destruction of large forests, land grabbing and evictions, (death) threats and intimidation, land and water pollution and climate change. In spite of initiatives and certification schemes, the situation 'on the ground' seems to only be getting worse in many countries. The production of palm oil, for instance, has widely expanded in the last decade to many countries in West- Africa and in Latin America, bringing nothing but trouble for local communities.

Three day forum in Amsterdam

In concluding a three-day forum on sustainable trade, indigenous and human rights and deforestation in Amsterdam, the delegation from 11 forest nations issued a statement warning the EU and its member states that the global trading system —in violation of pledges made at both ends of the supply chain— continues to produce and sell shoes, handbags, beef, animal feed, chocolates, gold and biofuels that are destroying the lives and livelihoods of forest peoples in forest countries.

Solutions to stop deforestation

The visit to the Netherlands is part of a larger tour, organised by Forest Peoples Program in collaboration with Both ENDS. After having visited Amsterdam and the Hague, the delegation members will travel to Brussels and London to call upon EU and British policy makers to take action. To support their call and demands, the delegation members, together with the organisers, have launched a comprehensive report with civil society groups. The report sets out measures needed to protect human rights defenders and puts forward rightsbased solutions for stopping the destruction of rainforests and preventing climate change.

For more information:

The call to action (14 February 2018)

The press release (15 February 2018)

The recommendations to policy makers (21 March 2018)

Background information

Report 'Closing the Gap' 

Website 'Closing the Gap'

Website Forest Peoples Program


OneWorld (Dutch): Vermoord voor palmolie

El País (Spanish): Los buenos propósitos no bastan: la deforestación avanza

The Guardian: Britain and Europe must tighten palm oil supply chains to save forests, EU parliament told



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