Tuesday, 27 September 2016

"Nothing about us without us" La Via Campesina at the Farmers' Rights Global Consultation

A delegation comprising peasants, women and men, indigenous people and youth from various regions of the world will represent La Via Campesina at the Farmers' Rights Global Consultation, to be held between 27-30 of September in Bali, organized by the Government of Indonesia with support from The Government of Norway and The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA).  

The delegation of rural peasants and indigenous people representing La Via Campesina will be calling upon the Treaty and the contracting parties (governments) to recognize and implement peasants' rights and to reject the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) legislations and patent laws that endanger food sovereignty.

The selected seeds kept by peasants in their fields are one of the irreplaceable pillars of food production. Peasants all over the world have been aware of this throughout the centuries. It is one of the most universal and basic understandings that all peasants share. Except in those cases where they have suffered external aggressions or extreme circumstances, almost all peasant communities know how to save, store and share seeds. Millions of families and farming communities have worked to create hundreds of crops and thousands of varieties of these crops. The regular exchange of seeds among communities and peoples has allowed crops to adapt to different conditions, climates and topographies. This is what has allowed farming to spread and grow and feed the world with a diversified diet.

Therefore, peasants' unconditional and unrestricted access to a diverse range of peasant seeds and their right to keep, use, exchange and sell farm seeds is the first condition necessary for feeding the world. In defense of the peasant-seed systems, at the consultation, La Via Campesina delegation will speak for the right to protect traditional and modern peasant knowhow and defend it from the assault of IPR laws.The delegation will also emphasise that the peasant participation in decision making must not be reduced to the inclusion of a few organisations who bow to pressure from the industry and accept decisions already made. Furthermore, participation must not also not be reduced to just big landholders, but must include women, indigenous people, landless peasants, landless agricultural workers, fisherfolk and pastoralists.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

La Via Campesina "Together we can cool the planet!" October 16

La Via Campesina calls for International Day of Action for Peoples' Food Sovereignty as the world marks World Food Day on the 16th October,
(Watch the trailer of the video "Together we can cool the planet!" to be launched this October 16) http://tv.viacampesina.org/Together-we-can-cool-the-planet?lang=en

La Via Campesina calls its members and allies, and civil society organizations to mobilize and organize actions on October 16th, the International Day of Action for Peoples' Food Sovereignty and against transnational corporations (TNCs). The current climate, hunger and migrant and refugee crises affecting millions of peasants, small farmers, families, especially women and youth show that corporate solutions are false and won't yield human dignity.

La Via Campsina calls for a radical transformation towards a fair and decent food system for all - through wider adoption of agroecology and the construction of people's food sovereignty - a system change that recognizes peoples' needs, accords dignity and respects nature.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Peasants’ movement in United Nations Human Rights Council

On the afternoon of October 1st 2015 the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution that the open-ended intergovernmental working group, with the mandate to negotiate, finalize and submit to the Human Rights Council a draft United Nations declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.

The resolution was presented by the governments of Bolivia, Ecuador, Cuba and South Africa and sponsored among others by Switzerland, Brazil, Eritrea and Argentina, in a joint effort from all regions to support this decisive step. In the final vote, the US government was the only one to vote against. The governments of Europe have abstained from voting and have continued with the same bloc-voting position as in June 2014, in the vote on resolution 26/26. In total, 31 countries voted in favor, 15 abstained, and only one voted against.*

La Via Campesina, an international movement which brings together more than 180 organizations from around the world and that represents approximately 200 million peasants, has together with FIAN and CETIM, taken a historic momentum to this process by positioning for the first time within a UN mechanism, a project intended to fill the gaps in human rights legislation of the rural population and rural fishing communities, nomadic peoples, pastoralists, rural workers, landless, rural women and indigenous peoples. The current draft statement submitted by the government of Bolivia in Geneva in February 2015 during the last working group, advocates for a universal charter containing a set of rights in order to improve the conditions of those who live in rural areas and produce 80% of the food in the world.

In the days before the vote, leaders from all continents were present in Geneva in order to alert governments about the growing conditions of exclusion, land grabbing, repression and criminalization faced by peasants' organizations and the devastating effects of agrochemicals on the health of rural and peasant population. Meanwhile, national organizations supported the work done in Geneva by carrying out lobbying activities in the capitals.

La Via Campesina and alliances redouble efforts to demonstrate that there is no North-South division in the violations of the rights of the peasants' population against the reluctance of many northern states to accept the need for such a statement. La Via Campesina advocates for a model of peasant agriculture in both the North and the Global South based on agroecology and equal relations between peasants.

The UN will continue the process for the next two years.

* Results of the vote on the resolution

In favor (31): Algeria, Botswana, Congo, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, China, India,Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Vietnam, Argentina,Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, El Salvador, Paraguay, Venezuela, Russia / Votes abstention (15): France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, United Kingdom, Macedonia, Montenegro, Latvia, Estonia, Albania, Mexico, Qatar, Japan, Korea / negative Feedback(1): United States