Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)

817 Broadway, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10003



April 12, 2005                                               Cyril Boynes, Jr.

                                                            212-598-4000 *


Rainforest Action Network violates human rights

Africans and US civil right group confront RAN over intimidation of banks

Eco-activists keep world’s poor impoverished, hungry, disease-ridden, says CORE


NEW YORK – The Rainforest Action Network’s narrow political agenda tramples on the human rights of the world’s most destitute people, keeps them impoverished, and sends many to early graves, the Congress of Racial Equality charged today. CORE is challenging environmental extremism on the streets of New York, at the JP Morgan Chase Bank’s Manhattan headquarters, where RAN is staging a “day of action” against banks and poor people.

“RAN does not deserve a seat at the table of any bank, and certainly should never be given veto power,” said CORE national spokesman Niger Innis. The World Bank, Citigroup and Bank of America have “shamefully compromised” their lending policies because of RAN’s threats, he noted. “We hope JP Morgan will continue following its morally superior principles.”

Innis will be joined by Cyril Boynes, Jr., CORE’s director of international programs, and dozens of other ethical counter-protesters, including immigrants whose families in Third World nations will again be victimized by eco-imperialism, if Rainforest Action gets its way.

Innis forcefully challenged Rainforest Action’s “self-centered and illegitimate” demands that JP Morgan and other banks change their business practices and standards. “The bank’s standards already meet or exceed modern social values,” Innis stressed. “They just don’t reflect RAN’s eco-centric agenda. It is the protesters’ morals, ethics, practices and standards that need reform.”

“These radical trust-fund activists are angry that their agenda has not been accepted by voters or the courts,” Boynes added. “So they try to harass and intimidate companies into caving in to their demands. And nobody is supposed to notice that it is the poor and powerless who suffer when banks capitulate.”

 “What right does RAN have to dictate choices for poor people, who never enjoy the safe water, plentiful food, nice homes and modern technologies these protesters take for granted?” Ugandan Diana Koymuhendo demands. “What right do they have to tell poor people they must settle for whatever crumbs Rainforest Action tosses to them? What right do they have to tell poor countries the lives of their citizens are less important than animals?”

Rainforest Action coordinates its efforts with dozens of other well-funded radical groups. RAN opposes fossil fuel and other electricity projects – ignoring the dire situation faced by 2 billion people who still don’t have electricity

Its anti-electricity policies force billions of people to cut down trees and collect animal dung for fuel. Indoor pollution from their fires results in nearly 4 million deaths every year from lung infections and tuberculosis. These people don’t have water purification, sewage treatment or refrigeration either, and 6 million perish annually from dysentery and other intestinal diseases, caused by unsafe water and spoiled food.

Rainforest Action’s allies battle pesticide use in countries where insects carry malaria, yellow fever, sleeping sickness and other diseases that infect half a billion people in sub-Saharan Africa alone, and kill 4 million, year after year, Boynes emphasized.

Other radical groups wage war on biotechnology – even though it could help alleviate hunger and malnutrition in many countries. Nearly 14 million people face starvation in southern Africa alone. Worldwide, 800 million are chronically undernourished, and 200 million children suffer from Vitamin A Deficiency. Half a million go blind from VAD every year – and 2 million die from problems directly related to the deficiency.

These extremist groups – and the foundations and companies that support them – support environmentally destructive wind energy farms that blanket tens of thousands of acres and kill thousands of birds and bats each year. Their opposition to biotechnology, pesticides and modern fertilizer means millions of acres of additional wildlife habitat must be plowed under to grow food with traditional subsistence methods.

They all seek to dismantle sound banking practices that have helped poor countries finance vital development projects, Boynes pointed out. “But the real victims are the world’s poor. For them, tomorrow may never come,” he said.

 “RAN lecturing banks about ethics and human rights is like Jeffrey Dahmer lecturing ministers about the sanctity of human life,” Innis declared. “Having these radical groups dictate what is socially responsible is worse than having Cuba, Sudan and Zimbabwe on the UN Human Rights Commission.”

This 501(c)(3) organization gets favored tax treatment, by claiming it is an educational charity, he noted. However, its main activity is harassing and intimidating companies, perpetuating poverty and disease in poor nations, and violating human rights, says Innis.

“We applaud JP Morgan for having the courage and morality to resist pressure from these fraudulent, self-anointed stakeholders,” said Boynes. “Unlike some companies, it recognizes that the real stakeholders are poor people whose needs, wishes and rights are being trampled on by radical environmental groups. All companies and all Americans need to tell Rainforest Action and its allies to observe ethics, human rights, transparency and accountability standards themselves.”

One of America’s oldest and most respected civil rights organizations, CORE is committed to promoting human rights, progress and prosperity in the United States and poor African, Asian and Latin American countries. Voting rights workers James Cheney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman were working for CORE when they were brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1964, and the organization has dedicated this new struggle to their memory. CORE has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Affairs Unit.


Sixty-three years and counting, the Congress Of Racial Equality is the third oldest and largest civil rights organization in the country.  CORE seeks to advance civil and equal rights for all people.  For further information, please visit our website at