PHC (FERONIA) / 18-002
Complainant: Réseau d’Information et d’Appui aux ONG en RDC (RIAO-RDC) and its chairperson Mr. Jean-François Mombia Atuku on behalf of a number of persons including leaders from communities and groups from areas which are claimed to be impacted by the project.
Date Filed: November 5th, 2018
Last update: April 30th, 2020
Case Status: Dispute Resolution
Plantations et Huileries du Congo SA (PHC) is a Congolese company which operates three long-established oil palm plantations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) close to the river Congo. PHC produces mainly crude palm oil and palm kernel oil for the domestic market.
The complaint covers three areas of concern: the legitimacy of the land titles of the plantation and alleged deprivation of the use of customary land (1), alleged physical and human rights abuses by PHC security guards and police (2) and the lack of information and legal support of communities in negotiations with PHC (3). The complainants have requested to conduct a dispute resolution and mediation process with the aim of resolving the land dispute and seeking to address any consequent impacts on poverty and alleged harassment and human rights abuses.
The panel determined that the complaint was admissible under the criteria of the Independent Complaints Mechanism Policy (2017) on January 7th, 2019. It published a Preliminary Review Report on November 22nd, 2019. The report contains the panel’s recommendation that a dispute resolution be conducted. In March 2021 the panel published an interim report that contains information on the development of the case.
The Independent Expert Panel has started preparations to initiate a mediation process. Due to the CoViD-19 pandemic and related restrictions, physical meetings have been postponed.