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Rural women cry foul

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Rural women in Liberia have expressed serious disappointment in concession companies operating in their respective counties. The women are from Sinoe, Margibi, Lofa, Grand Cape Mount, Nimba, Maryland, Rivercess and other parts of Liberia.

According to them, concession companies have caused them to lose their land and forest, among others. They made the claim over the weekend at the launch of a report highlighting plight of rural women in concession areas.

The report, captioned “Women: The Least Secure Tenure” Assessing the impact of Liberia’s large scale concession land development on women’s land and natural resources tenure rights was launched under the auspices of Green Advocates, Alliance for Rural Democracy and Natural Resource Women Platform.

Madam Anna Tue from Sinoe County alleged she was beaten in Butaw, Sinoe recently during riot between Golden Veroleum Liberia and group of citizens. Madam Tue narrates, “My grandfather born me here and I have been here over the years until now. All along, we have been enjoying our native land until Golden Veroleum came. When they came, we did not deny them. We were told that the company needed land for nursery for their oil palm. Later, we got to know that they were here to plant palm on all our lands, and that the land is not for us but for government. Where do they expect us to go?”

The concession agreement between concessionaires and the Government of Liberia as it relates to social and corporate obligations require investors to fund local development projects and help create jobs for Liberians, among others.

Investors are also obligated to residents and indigenes in concession areas as highlighted by the report, including issues such as companies’ social impact and action plan, employees’ housing, health, welfare, sanitation and safety, education program, training and knowledge transfer, community and youth development programs, roads as well as environmental controls in their areas of operation.

By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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