Socfin Group intends to sell its shares in Liberia's rubber plantations without compensating communities

Publish Date: 
Friday, May 31, 2024

The Socfin Group's oil palm and rubber plantations occupy 190,000 hectares (469,500 acres) in eight countries in West and Central Africa and two in Southeast Asia. Their operations have led to allegations of sexual and gender-based violence, inadequate compensation and ongoing land rights litigation.

Samuel Binda, at the site of the Salala plantation where his grandparents were buried. Ashoka Mukpo/ Mongabay.


We are alarmed by reports that the company intends to divest its shares in SRC (its parent company) without first settling its social, environmental, cultural, financial and economic debts to the affected communities. Our member Green Advocates International has initiated this open letter to demand accountability from Socfin and explain the proposed divestment by Socfin from the Salala Rubber Corporation (SRC) in Liberia. 

Any purchaser will inherit extremely significant liabilities connected to the widespread land, environmental, and human rights violations associated with SRC’s rubber plantation.  The purchaser will also receive a concession based on insecure title to the land on which the plantation sits.  We, therefore, call on all stakeholders – SRC’s parent company, Socfin; investors; financiers; the Government of Liberia; and all prospective buyers – to desist from any sale or assignation of rights until the complaints against SRC are resolved and the rights to the land upon which the concession for the rubber plantation was granted are conclusively determined.

Key Points:

  • Context: SRC’s operations have caused significant harm to local communities in Weala, Liberia, including land grabbing, environmental degradation, and human rights abuses.
  • Current Issue: Socfin is seeking to divest its shares in SRC without settling its social, environmental, and economic debts to the affected communities.
  • Call to Action: The letter urges stakeholders, including the Liberian government and prospective buyers, to halt any sale until all liabilities are addressed and the rights of the local communities are protected.

Background Information:

  • SRC, a subsidiary of Socfin, operates an 8,000-hectare rubber plantation with a history of rights violations against Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
  • The plantation expansion has displaced numerous villages, resulting in poverty, food insecurity, and cultural dislocation.
  • Allegations of sexual and gender-based violence, inadequate compensation, and ongoing litigation over land rights further complicate the situation.
  • ESCR-Net’s System of Solidarity has previously take action vis-à-vis SOCFIN, particularly in Sierra Leone, while amplifying related actions in Liberia, in 2019.

Related content:

1. At a rubber plantation in Liberia, history repeats in a fight over land by Ashoka Mukpo for Mongabay.

2. Investigation confirms most allegations against plantation operator Socfin by Victoria Schneider for Mongabay.

By signing this letter, we can collectively press for justice and accountability, ensuring that the affected communities’ rights and livelihoods are safeguarded.

Please sign the letter HERE before 12:00 PM CET on Tuesday, June 4, 2024