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WAKEFIELD – Ecotextile News has received disturbing information which links proposed new organic cotton projects in the Lower Omo Valley, Southern Ethiopia with land grabs of virgin land and the removal of populations and human rights abuses. The projects have clear connections with a leading Turkish textile manufacturer, and Ecotextile News is currently verifying whether organic cotton supply arrangements from the projects are already in place with three major western retailers.

This mis-use of land and the displacement of people for organic cotton growing, which one can only describe as a grotesque distortion of the concept of sustainability, suggests that cotton standards need – with a matter of great urgency – to categorically ban any land resulting from forest clearance from being used for any verified sustainable cotton. More than that, in this case, both buyers and certified standards should ensure restoration of the land to its native state and the restoration of people's rights. (Updated: 2014-11-08 03:49:35)

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