Brasil, Dilma – Veto All of It! In Defense of the Forest Code

Leader of La Via Campesina Brasil

The bill that amends the Brazilian Forest Code, voted on this week in the Chamber of Deputies, represents the maximum agenda of the ruralists. The caucus that supports agribusiness and defends those who commit environmental crimes showed their unity and succeeded in approving language so intertwined that it affects the whole bill.  

The language of the amendment means that if President Dilma Rousseff vetoes part of the bill, the same thing continues. For example, if she vetoes the part that specifies as 15 meters the minimum forest area to be preserved along the banks of rivers (currently it is 30 meters) – the bill would remain without any mention of the recovery of these areas. Predatory tourism in the wetlands is still allowed, according to the bill.

The ruralists also took the opportunity to make the process of agrarian reform more difficult by restricting the collection of government data about the population and even by annulling the Constitutional mandate that classifies as unproductive the areas where the environment is not respected.

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Honduras, Interview with Rafael Alegría on land occupations

Honduras, May 3rd

RA: My name is Rafael Alegría and I am from Honduras. I am the regional co-ordinator for La Via Campesina in Honduras and for all of Central America. We are co-ordinating La Via Campesina which is a movement that integrates 6 organisations at a national level: the National Office of Farm Workers (CNTC), the National Association of Campesino Organisations (ANACH), the Western Region Association (ANRO), the San Manuel Campesino Movement and the Unified Campesino Movement of Aguan (MUCA), amongst other organisations.

At this moment in time, there is a very serious agricultural conflict taking place - the campesinos want to work and produce their own food to feed their families and to contribute to the national economy. This is why on the 17th April, the International Day of Peasants' Struggles, the Honduran campesinos occupied 15,000 hectares of national, communal, fiscal and unoccupied lands. But the government and landowners are using repressive measures against the campesinos. At the moment, 126 campesinos have been charged and persecuted with preventive measures and I would also like to mention that there are approximately 700 women participating in the struggle to reclaim the land.

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Civil Society Organizations’ joint reaction to the Guidelines on Land, Fisheries and Forests

Rome 11 May 2012

For immediate release

Tenure Guidelines are a first step, but much more is needed to ensure peoples’ rights to land and natural resources

Civil Society Organizations’ joint reaction to the Guidelines on Land, Fisheries and Forests delivered today by the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) A first essential step has been made, but there’s still a long road ahead before peoples’ rights to land, fisheries and forests are fully recognized and respected.

Civil Society Organizations actively involved in the negotiations on the guidelines believe that they represent significant progress made in the governance of natural resources and food security. The guidelines are the result of multi-year-discussions between governments and civil society representatives and reaffirm basic human rights principles such as human dignity, non-discrimination, equity and justice when applied to tenure. Nonetheless, they fall short on issues that are key to the livelihoods of small scale food producers, failing to sufficiently challenge practices such as land and water grabbing, which contribute to food insecurity, violation of human rights and degradation of environment.

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Land grabbing: La Via Campesina urges States to act

(Rome, May 10th, 2012) This week, the United Nations Committee on World Food Security is convening for a special session to formally adopt the recently concluded Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of National Food Security. These new guidelines could prove to be one small but important step towards reforming the policies at the root cause of the food crisis.

La Via Campesina reminds governments that the guidelines have been built on a foundation of agreed upon human rights principles that cannot be negotiated. It is therefore the responsibility of states to support the implementation of these guidelines and to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of their citizens.

In this regard, La Via Campesina urgently requests all governments to condemn the practise of land grabbing that is currently displacing millions of peasants and small-scale producers around the world. Land grabbing is causing massive violations of human rights, whilst destroying land, society, environment and food sovereignty.

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