(Jakarta, 16 April 2012) Small scale farmers and their allies are celebrating the International Day of Peasant’s Struggle tomorrow, 17th of April 2012, organising more than 250 actions and manifestations all over the globe.
This event commemorates the massacre of 19 landless farmers demanding access to land and justice in 1996 in Brazil (1). A full list of actions, ranging from university lectures to land occupations is available on the website www.viacampesina.org
The international farmers movement La Via Campesina is mobilising this year to oppose the current offensive by some states and large corporations at international level to grab land from the farmers, women and men, who have been cultivating it for centuries. Small farmers’ demand is simple: they need access to land to grow food for their communities. When land is grabbed by transnational companies, huge monoculture plantations for export are developed. This only leads to increased hunger, social unrest and environmental devastation, including the current climate chaos.
Tomorrow, Farmers organisations and their allies will reclaim land all over Brazil and organise mass mobilisations against landgrabbing in Tete, Mozambique and in front of the Constitutional Court in Jakarta, Indonesia. In Brussels, they will launch a parody of the EU Commission’s website marking the 50th anniversary of the Common Agriculture Policy.
This action day will take place a few days before the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty in Washington DC, April 23-26, 2012. The Via Campesina mobilisations will voice small farmers’ strong opposition to the World Bank initiative of Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI) that is supposed to prevent land grab abuses but in fact legitimizes farmland grabbing by corporate and state investors.
“In the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit, farmers and supporters of the food sovereignty and agroecology movement are now actively opposing the “greening of capitalism” that is now promoted at international level. We believe that land, water, seeds and all natural resources should be used by small farmers to protect them and feed to world, and not by transnational corporations to make profit”, said Henry Saragih, general coordinator of la Via Campesina.
For interviews and more information
Henry Saragih (in English): +62 811655668 (Indonesia)
Itelvina Masioli (in Spanish): + 55 11 63 59 00 44. (Brazil)
Josie Riffaud (in French) + 33(0) 6 13 10 52 91 (France)
Ibrahim Coulibaly (in French) + +22366761126 (Mali)
More information on www.viacampesina.org
(1) On April 17 1996, in the Amazonian state of Pará, at Eldorado dos Carajás, the state military police massacred peasants organized in the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST), killing 19 individuals. That day, 1500 women and men organized in the MST occupied and blocked the BR-150 highway in Eldo- ado dos Carajás, with the intention to pressure the state and federal governments for agrarian reform. At about 4pm, 155 state military police from two brigades surrounded the MST on the highway, firing tear-gas, live ammunition and machine guns. In addition to the 19 MST killed during the massacre, three more died later from injuries, and 69 people were wounded. State authorities, the police, the army and powerful local landowners were involved in planning and executing of the massacre. Fifteen years later, none of those responsible for the massacre at Eldorado dos Carajás has been imprisoned or punished.
La Via Campesina
Via Campesina is an international movement of peasants, small- and medium-sized producers, landless, rural women, indigenous people, rural youth and agricultural workers. We are an autonomous, pluralist and multicultural movement, independent of any political, economic, or other type of affiliation. Born in 1993, La Via Campesina now gathers about 150 organisations in 70 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
International Operational Secretariat:
Jln. Mampang Prapatan XIV no 5 Jakarta Selatan 12790, Indonesia