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TuK Indonesia vs. Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)

Case overview

Date filed 23 January 2018
Current status Pending
Issue RSPO's violation of Indonesian indigenous peoples rights
Summary of the case On 23 January 2018, Transformation for Justice (TuK Indonesia), an Indonesian community rights group, filed a complaint against the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) with the Swiss NCP for breaches to the OECD Guidelines. Tuk Indonesia alleges that RSPO has failed to address complaints by residents of Kerunang and Entapang villages in West Kalimantan, whose land was taken by the palm oil giant Sime Darby.

RSPO is legally constituted in Switzerland.

The Dayak Indigenous villages complaint begins in 1995, when Mitra Austral Sejahtera (MAS) allegedly approached the villagers stating that they would get electricity, housing, hospitals, school and employment in return to lease their land until 2022. However, no contract was ever signed, the communities were not informed of the project, and MAS obtained cultivation permits and a land-use contract valid until 2030. In 2007, when Sime Darby acquired MAS, the villagers had been demanding that the company allow them to right to cultivate the land.

The complaint alleges that the company did not meaningfully engage with the villagers and their right to free, prior and informed consent was violated.

Tuk Indonesia has discussed the issue with RSPO and its complaints manager since 2012 without resolution. The community has also met with the management of the Sime Darby Plantation over 25 times, but the company has stated that its “unable at this point to unilaterally accede to the community's demands over the main contention areas ... as to do so would result in a breach of Sime Darby Plantation's terms of the concessions agreement signed with the government of Indonesia.”
Developments/Outcome In May 2018, the Swiss NCP issued an initial assessment accepting the case for further consideration. The NCP asserted that the RSPO, though not a traditional multinational enterprise, is nevertheless covered by the OECD Guidelines because it has commercial activities. The NCP noted that although the RSPO has a legal registration in Switzerland, its operational control is otherwise in Malaysia. Nevertheless, the Swiss NCP wrote that "taking in account, that no other NCP would be competent to treat this specific instance, the Swiss NCP decides to offer its good offices to support direct discussions between the parties where deemed appropriate."
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Switzerland
NCP address Berne, Switzerland
NCP website https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/en/home/Aussenwirtschaftspolitik_Wirtschaftliche_Zusammenarbeit/Wirtschaftsbeziehungen/NKP.html
Other NCPs involved

Complainant

NGO

Company Information

Company responsible RSPO
Company address
Company website
Company in violation
Country of operations
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
31 May 2018 National Contact Point Switzerland accept Swiss NCP accepts case. download pdf (277Kb)  
23 January 2018 TuK Indonesia (Transformasi untuk Keadilan Indonesia) file News article on the filing of the complaint download pdf (207Kb)  

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