The Strategist

The Threat Of Privatisation Is Being Garbed Under The ‘Fairytale’ Of Development

06/15/2015 - 10:05

Anuradha Mittal along with Karine Jacquemart unveils the “ugly truth” behind the promising story of land privatisation.
Moreover, they also highlight the environmental threats attached to such projects., Paris/ Oakland, California – 13 June 2015 – Last month, Anuradha Mittal, the executive director at the “Oakland Institute” and Karine Jacquemart, the leader of the African “Forest Project” which being carried out at “Greenpeace International”, argued that the growing global rush for land acquisition by the “foreign investor” will prove “increasingly fatal”.
The duo termed such act of bulldozing forests, houses and other establishments, which robs the Earth of its “natural bounty”, as a “fierce and unfair” act. They claimed that they are constantly under the radar survey of accusations like “being anti-development” towards nature and its resources, although the Institute of Oakland and Greenpeace work with various communities from around the globe to spread awareness regarding “access and control over natural resources”.
According to Jacquemart and Mittal, such act of “name calling” is an attempt to hide “an ugly truth” about the issues the third-world countries are facing regarding the availability of water, land and “other natural resources”. In fact, a report named “How many more?”, wherein the rate of land acquisitions and assassinations of “environmental activists” have been recorded as “a shocking average of over two a week in 2014”, was published in the month of April 2015.
Greenpeace and the Institute of Oakland have joined hands in supporting the struggling “frontline” who are arrested, intimidated, killed or even made to disappear. In the authors’ words:
“ is an ethical imperative to support the struggles of the grassroots land defenders against corporations and governments.”
The estimates show, on a worldwide scale, an area of “200 million hectares”, five times bigger than the state of California, which was “leased” out and purchased mostly through “opaque deals” over the last decade. In fact, seventy percent of these murky deals have been “reported” to take place in Africa, as the continent is rich in natural resources.
The “World Bank Group” along with countries that form part of G8 “donor(s)” are helping multinational companies to acquire “large-scale land” and other “mega-projects”, whereby they assure the world that such investments and ventures will “translate into development for all” in a trickling manner. Nevertheless, the authors assert:
“Our work reveals a very different and worrying reality on the ground. Local communities and indigenous peoples report lack of consultation; their lands, homes and forests bulldozed and cleared for foreign investors; their livelihoods shattered.”
Furthermore, the duo cites the words of victims, wherein a villager from the “Democratic Republic of the Congo” was quoted saying:
“I want to remain a farmer on my land, not a daily worker depending on a foreign company”.
While an Ethiopian “Bodi chief” said:
“I don’t want to leave my land. If they try and force us, there will be war. So I will be here in my village either alive on the land or dead below it.”
There are “countless more” who fall victims “of the theft of natural resources” which are rendered “voiceless” and kept in a low profile by the corporate ‘developers’. Moreover, if the victims show any resistance, the government along with the “private companies” make life painful for them. Currently, a similar case of a “palm oil plantation” is becoming life-threatening for “thousands of people” as they are in the verge of losing their lands. The said project would even destroy parts “of the world’s second largest rain forest”.
The oil plantation project is being run by Herakles Farms which is based in the U.S. In an open letter, the former C.E.O of the company, responded “to criticism of the project” by saying:
“My goal is to present HF for what it is – a modestly-sized commercial  oil  palm  project  designed  to  provide employment and  social  development and improve  the  level  of  food  security, while incorporating industry best practices.”
His promising words were clothing crude realities, wherein Nasako Besingi, “a Cameroonian activist”, was legally charged, arrested, and assaulted for demonstrating “a peaceful” opposition towards the project.
The authors urge to the world to take heed now before it’s too late for privatisation “of land and theft of natural resources will be irreversible”. Consequently, forests, eco-systems, climates and people will all be “at risk”.