The Communications Collective of South Asia, with support from the Youth Media Collective of MONLAR, is releasing the first edition of La Via Campesina’s South Asian Dispatches. Episode 1 focuses on the ongoing farmworkers’ strike in Bangladesh, organized by the Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation since July 21, 2023. The struggle has compelled the government to establish a committee to study the matter and provide recommendations.
On September 14, 2023, during the 54th session of the Human Rights Council, a biennial “Panel discussion on unilateral coercive measures and human rights” was held in Geneva. Fatimatou Hima from the Plateforme Paysanne du Niger, a member of Via Campesina, intervened on behalf of CETIM to declare and denounce the consequences of economic and financial sanctions against Niger and its people, particularly the impact on Nigerien peasants.
On Sunday, September 10, 2023, the city of Derna in Libya, along with neighboring villages and towns, witnessed the devastating impact of Storm Daniel. This unprecedented natural disaster inflicted profound destruction on Libya, leaving a trail of unprecedented devastation in its wake. Over 3,900 lives were lost, with more than 9,000 still missing and an additional 20,000 forcibly displaced.
Within the industrial food system, “safety” is all about managing the high risks created by this model of food production. Food is produced on monoculture fields or factory farms, with uniform breeds of plants and animals that are highly vulnerable to pests and diseases. In this context, diseases can grow or mutate into more lethal forms. To deal with their vulnerabilities, crops are genetically modified or doused with toxic pesticides, and animals are fed antibiotics and drugs.
It is alarming that the process in the lead up to the updated draft has been marked with an unacceptable level of arbitrariness by the Chair. For instance, the weeks leading up to the 8th session of the OEIGWG were riddled with inconsistencies that give rise to important procedural and ethical concerns. It is time for transparency, coherence, collaboration, and, above all, it is time for justice.
A new report from the Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) shines a light on the systemic drivers of exploitation in the UK immigration system with regard to seasonal fruit and veg pickers. The report also includes a supply chain analysis, which reveals that migrant seasonal workers picking soft fruit retain on average just 7.6% of the total retail price of the produce.
The numbers speak of the tragedy – over 2497 of our comrades have passed on, and 3,000 more are injured, many critically. It deeply saddens us that the majority of those affected are the marginalized peasant workers, the backbone of our food systems, historically overlooked and left behind in the march towards urban-focused development. La Via Campesina extends its heartfelt solidarity to our brothers and sisters in Morocco during these testing times.
Agreements include Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) Mechanisms that hamper governments from enacting new legislation and regulations to protect human and environmental health. Canadian investors in the mining, oil and gas sector have initiated the highest number of Canada’s ISDS cases – 70 percent! The warning Mr Lee left us is especially relevant as Mexico currently struggles to uphold its food sovereignty by prohibiting GM corn.
The General Coordinator of La Via Campesina dive deep into the significance of being a peasant in today’s world and the pivotal role LVC plays in addressing global crises, shaping our society, and advocating for social justice. She delves into La Via Campesina’s unwavering commitment to empowering peasant women and the transformative impact of their contributions. Learn about the organization’s ongoing initiatives in Colombia, Nepal, and its connections with peasant movements in Australia.
Between the 14th and 17th of September this year, the Escola Nacional Florestan Fernandes (ENFF), located in Guararema, São Paulo, Brazil, will host the III Seminar on Sexual and Gender Diversity of the La Via Campesina Brazil. The event, already established as a forum for debate and knowledge-building on matters related to sexual and gender diversity, promises to bring together over 80 participants from different movements that constitute La Via Campesina, addressing topics ranging from human rights to the intersectionality of struggles.
Time has come for the implementation of UNDROP to be tackled at the international level. It is in this context that La Via Campesina (LVC) and its allies, advocate for the creation of an international follow-up mechanisms on peasants’ rights, in the form of a UN Special procedure. In the 54th session of the Human Rights Council that started on September 11th, the Permanent Mission of the Plurinational State of Bolivia will present a resolution to create this mechanism.
The participants were of the opinion that a fair remunerative price is central to finding a solution to the ongoing farm crisis in the country. The participants also delved into the various bilateral trade negotiations India is currently involved in, including those with the EU. A significant demand from EU negotiators has been the liberalization of the agricultural and dairy sectors. Forum participants cautioned against any attempts to lower tariffs, as such actions would exacerbate the crisis.
La Via Campesina commemorates the International Day of Action Against the WTO and Free Trade agreements and announces that the endeavor to construct an alternative trade framework based on food sovereignty and solidarity among peoples, will commence in 2023 during the 8th International Conference in Bogota, scheduled for this December. This year coincides with the 20-year anniversary of the tragic passing of Lee Kyung Hae.
From 31 August to 3 September 2023, 150 activists from various organisations from different parts of Spain gathered in Hornachuelos (Córdoba) in a camp dedicated to agroecology and food sovereignty, to ratify the need to break with the agro-industrial food model and system. Under the slogan “we stand up”, the meeting took a stand in favour of a fair and sustainable food model and a living rural world.
On the 23rd of last month, at a road in front of Seoul City Hall, more than 1,000 peasant women gathered for the ‘2023 National Peasant Women’s Conference’ organized by the Korean Women Peasants Association, wearing white attire, urging the resignation of the Yoon Seok-yeol government, which implements policies harmful to agriculture and farmers.
MST’s Landless LGTB Collective is promoting some initiatives aimed at approaching the issues which lesbian women still face, including discrimination, stigmatisation, and lack of recognition. The struggle for equal rights and social justice is an endless battle, and the Lesbian Pride Month reminds us of the importance of staying united in the pursuit of a more inclusive and fairer society.
In August, we reactivated the call for our 8th International Conference, scheduled for 1st to 8th December 2023 in Bogota, Colombia. Our theme for the conference, “In the face of global crises, we build Food Sovereignty to ensure a future for humanity”, captures the updates and alerts we present in this edition of the newswrap, which contains news from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
The Rural Workers & Migration working group publishes today its third newsletter. Have a look at our actions regarding the support of agricultural workers’ struggles, commercial pressure towards distributors and ECVC trade unions’ mutual support. Thank you for sharing the newsletter and the call to mobilisation against agroindustry in Cordóba in September.
It has been twenty years since the World Trade Organization’s imperialist, neoliberal and neo-colonial free trade policies led to the sacrifice of one of our peasant leaders – Lee Kyung Hae – at the gates of the Ministerial meeting venue in Cancun, Mexico. Since then things have only worsened for both people and the planet. The Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), which forms the core of the WTO’s food and agriculture trade policies, continues to wreak havoc on people’s lives.
Following the coup d’état that took place on 26 July 2023, very harsh sanctions were decreed against Niger, such as the blocking of the banking system and the trade embargo on the country. In addition to these unjust and inhumane sanctions, the Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has announced a military intervention in Niger, supported by the United States and France.
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