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Farmers demand the World Bank and Wall Street stop grabbing their lands

Media teleconference at the opening of the Bank’s annual conference in Washington, DC.

Washington, DC, Monday, April 23rd, 11:00 am EDT (details below)


The World Bank is playing a leading role in a global land grab, says farmers' movement and its international allies.(1) The World Bank’s policies for land privatisation and concentration, have paved the way for corporations from Wall Street to Singapore to take upwards of 80 million hectares of land from rural communities across the world in the past few years, they say in a collective statement released today at the opening of the World Bank’s Conference on Land and Poverty in Washington DC.

"Rural people are losing control over land and water because of this global land grab," says Honduran farmer leader Rafael Alegria of the international farmers' movement La Via Campesina. "We want the land grab stopped and the lands taken to be returned to the local communities. In Honduras, we demand that the law for rural modernisation promoted by the World Bank be canceled and that a new law for agricultural transition be adopted".

The World Bank will be meeting with government officials and private sector investors during its annual conference, where they will discuss large-scale farmland acquisitions by foreign corporations in developing countries. The World Bank will be promoting its controversial Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI).

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World bank : get out of Land!


Declaration Signed by Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale, FIAN International, Focus on the Global South, Friends of the Earth International, GRAIN, La Via Campesina, and the Transnational Institute

23 April 2012

"Land governance in a rapidly changing environment" is the theme of the 2012 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty being held April 23-26 in Washington DC. Corporate investors, governments and International Financial Institutions are meeting at World Bank headquarters to “discuss issues of concern to land practitioners and policymakers worldwide”. While they devise ways to help corporations acquire land around the world, people on the ground are suffering from the corporate-friendly land policies and laws promoted by the World Bank and its allies.

The World Bank has for decades pushed a market-based approach to land management based on its political and economic recipes for poverty reduction. It has promoted land privatisation and sought to create the conditions for land markets to be established by transforming traditional and customary land rights into ready-to-be-marketed titles and by funding land-titling programs in many countries -- in support of a corporate-led agri-industrial model of development.

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Honduras, Thousands of Honduran workers occupy land

Thousands of Honduran farm workers have launched a co-ordinated land occupation, squatting on some 12,000 hectares nationwide and fuelling new tensions over land rights, authorities said.

More than 3,500 families started squatting on farmland in the provinces of Yoro, Cortes, Santa Barbara, Intibuca, Comayagua, Francisco Morazan, El Paraiso and Choluteca on Tuesday - the International Peasant Day of Struggle.

Activists say the seized arable land is public property and small farmers have the legal right to grow crops under Honduran law. The large landowners who have been farming the land say they bought it legally from the government.

On Wednesday, police and soldiers read an eviction notice to farm workers on the San Manuel sugar plantation, about 22km north of the capital Tegucigalpa. The workers then peacefully vacated the 2,500 hectare area.

The rest of the farms were still occupied late on Wednesday, activists said.

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In Defense of Food Sovereignty: Stop Water Grabbing!

Declaration of La Via Campesina in the Alternative World Water Forum


We, as peasants’ and farmers’ organizations from countries all over the world, members of La Via Campesina, met between the 12th and 17th of March 2012, for the Alternative World Water Forum in Marseille, France. Among others, the testimonies from Turkish, Brazilian, Bangladesh, Madagascar, Portugal, Italy, French, and Mexican delegates gave voice to the distress of “environmental victims”, making known the plight of people affected by dam construction, by the shale gas and mining industries, by the grabbing, commodification, scarcity and widespread pollution of water, and by the repression and murder of activists who are defending water.

We demand that the right “of” and “to” water should be respected within the framework of food sovereignty. The right “of” water means continuous respect for the entire water cycle.

We state that the privatization and commodification of water and of any other common good (land, seeds, knowledge, etc.) are crimes against the planet and against humanity. Large-scale dams and hydro-electric projects grab and sequester water, taking no account of the needs, traditional practices and opinions of local communities, and totally disregarding the protection of ecosystems.

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