DR Congo workers for Feronia made impotent by pesticides - HRW

  26 November 2019    Read: 1112
DR Congo workers for Feronia made impotent by pesticides - HRW

Workers exposed to pesticides at a UK-funded firm in the Democratic Republic of Congo have complained of becoming impotent, a rights group has said, BBC reported.

Feronia, which dominates DR Congo's palm-oil sector, had failed to give workers adequate protective equipment, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

The UK government's development bank, CDC, owns 38% of Feronia in DR Congo.

It said Feronia had invested heavily in protective equipment and all workers were required to wear it.

Feronia, a Canadian-based firm, said it was committed to operating to international standards.

The firm added that it had spent $360,000 (£280,000) on personal protective equipment in the last three years, which workers had been trained to use, and it had implemented a policy requiring the equipment to be worn in the workplace.

Feronia and its local subsidiary, Plantations et Huileries du Congo (PHC), employ thousands of workers at palm oil plantations in DR Congo.

PHC has received millions of dollars from the development banks of Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.

"These banks can play an important role promoting development, but they are sabotaging their mission by failing to ensure the company they finance respects the rights of its workers and communities on the plantations," HRW researcher Luciana Téllez-Chávez said.

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