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NGO withdraws from Malaysia's Sime Darby human rights panel

Palm oil giant's legal action against activist triggers exit amid US import ban

A tractor grabber collects palm oil fruits at a plantation in Malaysia. The U.S. has banned imports of palm oil from Sime Darby Plantation over allegations of forced labor during production.   © Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) -- Non-profit Shift said it has left Sime Darby Plantation's new human rights commission after the Malaysian palm oil giant sued an activist, potentially dealing a blow to its fight against a U.S. import ban over forced labor accusations.

An activist said he is also considering leaving the two-week-old panel after the world's largest sustainable palm oil producer sued Liberty Shared managing director Duncan Jepson, in connection with claims of worker abuse.

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