UN urged to ditch cattle-ranchers from human rights board

By staff writers
March 31, 2010

The United Nations (UN) is being urged to remove a controversial Brazilian cattle-ranching firm from an initiative designed for businesses committed to ethics and human rights.

Survival International says the company, Yaguarete Pora S.A., is involved in a scheme to bulldoze land in Paraguay without contacting its indigenous inhabitants. They want the company removed from the UN’s “Global Compact”.

The “Global Compact” is described as a “strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption”.

The Compact’s board is appointed and chaired by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon.

Survival International say that Yaguarete is destroying land belonging to the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode tribe. They describe this as a “flagrant violation of both Paraguayan and international law”.

The company is the proprietor of 78,549 hectares of ancestral Totobiegosode land and intends to leave only 16,784 hectares of it as “continuous forest”.

Yaguarete joined the Global Compact in January 2008, just months before starting to bulldoze the forest. This appears to violate the Compact’s principle that businesses “should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights”.

The forest being destroyed is the subject of a legal claim submitted by the Totobiegosode as long ago as 1993.

“Yaguarete cannot be said to be committed to ‘aligning their operations with human rights’,” said Stephen Corry, Director of Survival International, “We urge the Compact to blackball Yaguarete from the initiative now – if it doesn’t, it runs the risk of losing all integrity”.


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