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Women’s group takes Michelin tyre co. to court

Article published on the 2009-03-09 Latest update 2009-03-09 11:55 TU

© Studio Michelin

© Studio Michelin

Women near the Iguo-bazuwaa Forest Reserve are suing the French mulitnational tyre company Michelin, for abusing their farm and forest lands. They say the firm's activities deprice local communities of natural resources they need for survival.

A representative from the environment group bringing the case said that in 2007 “over 3500 hectares of forest were given to Michelin without due process, to convert to rubber production.”

“Michelin saw it as a sign of development; the women saw it as a sign of impoverishment,” Rhyta Osagyabo of the NGO Environment Rights Group told RFI.

Comment: Rhyta Osagyabo of the Environment Rights Group

09/03/2009 by Anustup Roy

Contacted by RFI, Michelin refused to comment on the case.

In their isolated region in south-west Nigeria, lack of hospitals and Western medicine led women from the local community to rely on leaves and herbs gathered in this forest for traditional health remedies.

“They use it to treat some of their children [and] pregnant women,” Osagyabo said from Benicity in south-west Nigeria. “Their crops have been left uncompensated. They were killed by Michelin tractors.”