JAKARTA: At a public seminar organised by Serikat Petani Indonesia in Jakarta on 22 April, Henry Saragih who is the chairperson of the peasants’ union emphasised that it would be important to involve all the people’s movements in Indonesia for the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) in the country.
The seminar titled “Promoting Human Rights in the United Nations Declaration on Peasant Rights and Other People Working in Rural Areas” was held to commemorate the Indonesian Peasant Rights Day celebrated on 22 April and the International Peasant Struggle Day celebrated on April 17 each year.
“UNDROP was ratified at the UN General Assembly in New York, United States December 17, 2018. We must be able to intervene in the State so that UNDROP is harmonized with laws at the national level,” Henry said. “Furthermore, the peasants must be able to prove that the rights of peasants are very important for peasant’s life. So after this stage we must be able to carry out very large socialization to all peasants in Indonesia. We will travel to various cities and communities in Indonesia such as the farming community, fishermen and so on to bring this good news,” he added.
Speaking at the seminar Zainal Arifin Fuad, member of the International Coordinating Committee La Via Campesina (International Peasants Movement) explained that UNDROP comprises 28 Articles that are fundamental to protecting the rights of peasants, including their territories, land, seeds, among others.”In Indonesia, we already have the Food Law, the law on protection and empowerment of peasants in place among others. The State must harmonize all of these existing laws with UNDROP and Article 28 in the Declaration elaborates on the obligation of the State to do this. With this Declaration on our side, we must also be able to ask our government to reject adoption and use of genetically modified seeds. In the future we will conduct massive socialization and education so that UNDROP can be known and used by all elements of society, especially Indonesian peasants, “he added.
Budi Laksana, Secretary General of the Indonesian Fishermen’s Union (SNI) added, the fishermen also appreciated the official birth of UNDROP.
“Hopefully this UNDROP can minimize the number of criminalization of fishermen and small peasants,” he said.
HS Dillon, a national human rights figure, stated that the SPI’s struggle in the local area must strengthen the masses against land grabbing. Meanwhile the struggle in the national level, SPI must make lobbies to produce policies that favor peasants, then in the global level, SPI must negotiate trade and investment that promotes the Rights of peasants. “This declaration can only be fought by peasants and you, because the government has only prioritized personal interests,” he said as a resource person at the UNDROP Seminar.
1 Million Signatures for Enforcement of Peasant Rights
Meanwhile, in the Province of Jambi, GEMA PETANI (Indonesian Peasant Student Movement) along with SPI Jambi conducted a campaign drive to generate “1 Million Signatures in support for the implementation of UNDROP”. The activity was held in the courtyard of the Jambi Governor’s office (20/04) which was also attended by several other communities such as Jambi State University agricultural students, IKMM (Minang Student Family Association), IMM (Muhamadiyah Student Association), Komunitas Menolak Lupa (Refuse To Forget Community), Kaca Budhi Community, STIE Students, and others.
Coordinator of Gema Petani Jambi Yogy Efendi Sikumbang conveyed that the struggle of the peasants is a struggle for food sovereignty.
“Peasants feed the world and uphold food sovereignty,” he said. “Our target is 1 million signatures in Jambi,” he added.
The chairperson of SPI Jambi Sarwadi Sukiman added the importance of students in the struggle of the peasants to carry out agrarian reform.
“Students and academics are one part of four other important parts of agrarian reform struggle namely strong political will, Land of Object of Agrarian Reform (TORA), and of course peasants organizations as strong controllers,” Sarwadi said.