IPS’ Foreign Policy In Focus hosted two of Liberia’s premier civil society leaders for a briefing on extractive industries and land grabs — and an honest assessment of President Sirleaf.
Come to a briefing with two of Liberia’s premier civil society leaders on the wake of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s visit to Washington DC.
Attend this lunchtime briefing with Austin Natee, who heads the Firestone Agricultural Workers Union of Liberia (FAWUL). Under Austin’s leadership FAWUL has been fighting to end the abuse of child labor and advance the rights of the workers in Firestone’s operations in Liberia, West Africa. Earlier this year, FAWUL received the Iqbal Masih Award from the U.S. Department of Labor. The award was established by Congress to recognize the work of an individual, company, organization or national government to end the worst forms of child labor. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said “This award recognizes the extraordinary efforts of the Firestone Agricultural Workers Union to combat the worst forms of child labor internationally.” Austin is here in the U.S. for the annual convention of the United Steelworkers which represents Firestone workers in the U.S. and has been working in solidarity with the workers in Liberia.
Liberian Activists Speak Out!
For over 80 years, the Bridgestone Firestone tire company has owned the world’s largest rubber plantation in Liberia. Child labor, widespread abuse of worker’s rights and environmental destruction have characterized the plantation for generations. But workers and communities affected by Firestone’s abuses are fighting back. Come hear the leaders of the union representing Firestone workers in Liberia and one of Liberia’s leading environmental justice lawyers discuss their fight for economic and environmental rights – and find out how you can support their struggle!
Wednesday, May 20th
12:30 – 2:00pm
Mr. Austin S. Natee is the President of the Firestone Agricultural Workers Union of Liberia (FAWUL), the union representing workers on the Firestone rubber plantation in Liberia.
Mr. Edwin B. Cisco is the Secretary General of the Firestone Agricultural Workers Union of Liberia (FAWUL) and National Coordinator in Liberia for the Swedish Pan African Trade Union Education Project (PANAF) of the LO/TCO based in Sweden.
Mr. Alfred Brownell is the President of the Association of Environmental Lawyers of Liberia (Green Advocates), a Liberia-based organization dedicated to advocating for strong environmental laws, working to enforce existing laws and empowering citizens to participate in environmental decision-making. Mr. Brownell is also a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) International Board.
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Instead of splurging on sponsoring the Super Bowl halftime show, Bridgestone Firestone should start paying its Liberian rubber workers a living wage.
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Firestone Natural Rubber Company is facing increasing international scrutiny for exploiting the people and natural environment of Liberia.