(Harare, October 27, 2021) This past October 16th, La Via Campesina (LVC) and its 200 million peasants, small and medium size farmers, landless people, rural women and youth, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers organized worldwide celebrated 25 years in the struggle for Food Sovereignty. Commemorations took place from North to South, East to West, with peasants and farmworkers joined by friends, allies, and countless coalitions equally dedicated to a profound transformation of food system and the full realization of peasants’ rights the world over. A few days later, specifically on October 19th, Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz designated six leading Palestinian civil society organizations (CSOs) as “terrorist organizations”. A shameless intensification of the Israeli government’s ongoing policy of persecution, the decision is just another blatant attempt to criminalize, strangle and silence the succesful rights-based organizing done by these organizations.
“Article 9.1: Peasants and other people working in rural areas have the right to form and join organizations, trade unions, cooperatives or any other organization or association of their own choosing for the protection of their interests, and to bargain collectively. Such organizations shall be independent and voluntary in character, and remain free from all interference, coercion or repression” – United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP)
The threat to arrest, jail and freeze the assets of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) and other peaceful advocates of Palestinian Human Rights has produced backlash – both public and private. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued a joint statement, for example, describing the designation as “an attack by the Israeli Government on the international human rights movement”. The UN Human Rights Council also reacted, affirming that such decisions must not be used to constrain legitimate human rights and humanitarian work. Even the US State Department – a close ally of the Israeli Government – is said to have expressed “concerns” over the decision. Israel’s Public Security Minister now claims the decision was not discussed within Israel’s Security Cabinet while The Times of Israel recognized in writing that “the Defense Ministry provided no concrete evidence” to back its accusation when making the decision public. In short, the Israeli Government now needs to hear from you, your organizations, and our coalitions!
- Take a moment, TODAY, and contact your local, national and or international representatives demanding they stand with international law, human rights and the Right to Food Sovereignty. Ask them to publicly denounce the shameful October 19th decision – joining 17 UN Special Rapporteurs, members the UN Human Rights Council, La Via Campesina and others – insisting the Israeli Government inmediately reverse its baseless decision. Struggling for Food Sovereignty is not a crime! End the persecution of UAWC-Palestine! See also the LVC Statement published on Saturday, October 23rd.
- Take a moment, ALSO TODAY, and share UAWC’s Public Response to the persecution as well as the many stories of struggle UAWC has developed over the years. Videos and other background materials can be found here – please share them far, please share them wide! Stand firm with a Food Sovereign Palestine!
Stand Firm with Palestine: Food Sovereignty is Not a Crime!
Globalize the Struggle! Globalize Hope!
La Via Campesina