“Stop palm oil!” From the far left to the right, nine political movements in Valais – the POP, the Socialist Party, the Young Socialists, the Greens, the Young Greens, the Center Gauche-PCS, Entremont Autrement, the New Radicals and the UDC – unite their forces to denounce the abuses of the free trade agreement with Indonesia. And invite Swiss citizens to refuse “the federal decree approving the broad-based economic partnership agreement between the EFTA States and Indonesia” which will be submitted to a popular vote on March 7. For five main reasons.
An ecological disaster
“The cultivation of palm oil destroys large areas of tropical forests and thereby a huge reservoir of biodiversity.” Like all opponents, Julien Bonvin (Young Greens) denounces an already high use of fertilizers and toxic pesticides. “The free trade agreement will further accelerate this overexploitation of nature.”
A fraudulent label
“The sustainability criteria of the agreement have no effect.” Christophe Clivaz (the Greens) evokes a questionable label and a lack of transparency. “There are no effective control mechanisms and virtually no penalties for violations.” For opponents, it is thus clear that the guidelines of the RSPO (Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil) are insufficient.
The local population sacrificed
“The indigenous communities are displaced by the monocultures of the big companies.” If Mathias Reynard (PS) is saying stop palm oil, it is also because the working conditions in Indonesia are “disastrous”. Instead of practicing self-sufficiency on their own land and cultivating rice, vegetables and fruits for the local market, the indigenous population had to work in the plantations in the hands of large companies. Representative of the POP, Jacqueline Lavanchy denounces an “ecocide”.
Human rights violations
Growing militarization, serious human rights violations, land grabbing, massive population displacements: for opponents, Indonesia would be a very unsavory trading partner.
The agreement harms our agriculture
“Cheap palm oil is already threatening our domestic production of oilseeds such as rapeseed and sunflower oil.” For Jean-Luc Addor (UDC), this free trade agreement will only reinforce the trend to the detriment of healthy and sustainable alternatives from local production and impoverish our farmers.