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Peoples Dispatch | 7 February 2020
Swiss communists support “STOP Palm Oil” referendum against the FTA with Indonesia
The Swiss parliament ratified a Free Trade Agreement between the European Free Trade Association and Indonesia on December 20 last year, allegedly without addressing the environmental concerns regarding Indonesian palm oil production
The Swiss Party of Labour has called on citizens to join the referendum against a free trade agreement with Indonesia. On February 6, the Labor Party said that it supports and is a part of the “ STOP Palm Oil” referendum against the free trade agreement signed between the European Free Trade Association ( which includes Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway) and Indonesia. The agreement was ratified by the Swiss Parliament on December 20 last year, allegedly without addressing the environmental concerns regarding Indonesian palm oil production.
The activist platform Uniterre that had initiated the referendum in the last week of January said that “palm oil is cultivated in monocultures, with the use of toxic pesticides, child labor, and forced labor, in miserable working conditions. Huge areas of tropical forests with rich biodiversity are irreparably destroyed. Smallholders and indigenous people are driven from their land.”
The Swiss Party of Labour has also called on the citizens of the country to participate in the several key popular initiatives launched by concerned citizens and groups regarding affordable housing, limiting the salary of the ministers, and against the purchase of new combat aircraft. Popular initiatives in Switzerland are part of the direct democracy in the country by which ordinary citizens call for amendments to the federal constitution, requested through a specific draft article or a general proposal from a group of people. For proposing a popular initiative to the Federal Parliament, the proposers have to collect 100,000 signatures in favor of the initiative from people entitled to vote within 18 months.
Earlier, in November 2019, the communist youth movement in Switzerland, Jeunes PoP, associated with the Swiss Party of Labour, also started a popular initiative demanding free public transport in the country.