Bagnolet, 28th december 2022
December has left us with important struggles and initiatives led by member organizations of La Via Campesina. On December 3rd, the International Day of Action for Life and against Agrochemicals, our leaders in Brazil highlighted the impact that agrochemicals have on our environment and our health. The Landless Workers Movement (MST) and the Peasant Women’s Movement (MMC) denounced the death of 439 people poisoned by agrochemicals during the Bolsonaro administration and the draft bill entitled “Pacote do Veneno”, which would relax even more the control of agrochemicals, many of which are already banned in Europe. In Paraguay, Perla Alvarez from Conamuri bore witness to the genetic malformations and to the new diseases caused by agrochemicals and highlighted agroecology as an alternative to these life-threatening systems.
Continuing with the peasant proposals, December 17th marked the 4th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) and a new Website was launched, devoted to gathering and sharing knowledge and use experiences. In a press release, La Via Campesina called for a Special Procedure within the Human Rights Council to include a Working Group of Experts or a UN Special Rapporteurship to monitor and promote its implementation around the world. From Nepal, our peasant leaders repeated this request and sent a video to commemorate the adoption of UNDROP in 2018.
On December 18th, the International Day of Migrants, our movement insisted that the migration crisis is the outcome of a system that neglects people and that re-victimizes them when they are forced to migrate. In Spain, our grassroots organization, the Rural Workers Union (SAT-SOC), participated in a demonstration in solidarity with 500 migrants in Almería, threatened with eviction from the camp where they live as workers of the fruit and vegetable industrial agriculture, which – as in Huelva and Seville – is developing without the public administration offering any housing alternatives. In Canada, the NFU called for the Canadian government to respect the human rights of migrant farm workers, regardless of their legal status, in accordance with UNDROP.
Between December 7th and 19th, our peasant militants from La Via Campesina participated in the Plenary of the COP 15, held in Montreal (Canada), together with the Working Group of the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC) on Agricultural Biodiversity. Unfortunately, the plenary did not acknowledge UNDROP or UNDRIP as references for peasant and indigenous rights respectively, thus missing the opportunity to strengthen the true guardians of biodiversity.
Solidarity in the face of serious human rights violations, criminalization and censorship of peasant struggles
December was also a month of struggle and solidarity. In Peru, the grassroots organizations of the CLOC-La Via Campesina joined the protests against the Parliamentary coup, the critical point of the political crisis unleashed in the country. Faced with the increasing repression of the interim government, La Via Campesina launched a new broadcast of interviews, which included in its first edition peasants and indigenous people from the Fenmucarinap, the National Agrarian Confederation and the Peasant Confederation of Peru, the CCP. This broadcast was followed by a solidarity statement that denounced the raid on the CCP premises, the persecution of our leaders and the murder of more than 20 protesters.
In another abusive use of police force, the government of Alejandro Giammattei in Guatemala ordered the violent eviction suffered by the Q’eqchi’ community of El Estor on December 6th. The Peasant Unity Committee (CUC) denounced the use of tear gas in families with minor children and the grabbing of peasant and indigenous lands for the benefit of large economic interests in the monoculture of the African palm in the Polochic river valley. Moreover, in Paraguay, the National Peasant Federation (FNC) denounced the consecutive evictions of peasant families to favour Brazilian soybean producers, demanding the application of an agrarian reform. Further repressions were reported in Morocco, within the framework of a demonstration for the farm workers’ rights, organized by the National Federation of the Agricultural Sector (FNSA). In other news, in Argentina, the Regional Government of Mendoza closed the Agroecology School of the Landless Rural Workers Union (UST). This decision, which deepens the educational exclusion of farm workers, aroused the solidarity of the national and international Movement through an online petition in defence of the peasant rights.
Other attacks on the integrity of peasant life also took place in the Global North. In Canada, the NFU-Ontario denounced the “Bill 23” on urban sprawl, which threatens wildlife and farmers’ access to land. Among other adverse policies against the peasantry, France’s Ministry of Agriculture has launched new restrictions on free-range poultry farming to combat bird flu, pushing small organic farmers toward the industrial model of cage-rearing. Through a press release, the Confédération Paysanne and the Modef described this measure as unfair, after verifying that the industrial sector was accountable for the crisis.
On its part, the European Coordination Via Campesina questioned the stubbornness of the European Commission in promoting carbon agriculture and “Net Zero” as solutions to the climate chaos. In a joint statement with more than 170 organizations committed to climate justice, they called for the transformation of food systems and for a just transition to agroecology as real solutions to reduce emissions to real zero.
More training on land rights, peasant agroecology and diversities
In Mali, faced with growing land speculation and territorial conflicts, the National Coordination of Peasant Organizations (CNOP) organized a series of workshops to promote the rights of women and youth, aimed at facilitating their access to land and the practice of peasant agroecology. For its part, MVIWATA, in Tanzania, launched a new training on organic production of native seeds and sunflowers, within the framework of its program to combat rural poverty and to promote the economic development of small family farmers.
In other regional news, agroecology has a new educational benchmark in the Caribbean region of LVC, thanks to our peasant organizations in the Dominican Republic, which inaugurated the new IALA Mamá Tingo. In São Paulo, Brazil, the MST organized the Agrarian Reform Festival with the aim of making food sovereignty visible among the urban population, as well as spaces for the socialization of popular culture and direct marketing channels with food-producing families. In Colombia, our grassroots organizations participated in the National Peasant Convention to continue forging the unity of the movement for Peasant Rights and for a Comprehensive and Popular Agrarian Reform.
New meetings took place in Honduras, with the Reflection Day on the Integration of Sexual Diversity within the peasant movement and on the sexual rights of the rural youth. Thanks to this event, 26 young people from organizations linked to La Via Campesina were able to exchange on food sovereignty from the perspective of sustainable production, human/peasant rights, diversity, and peasant and popular feminism.
The movement prepares for its VIII International Conference
On the other side of the world, the All Nepal Peasants Federation (ANPFA), hosted the South Asian Regional Meeting in Kathmandu from December 8th to 10th, where more than 20 delegates and peasant leaders from the region came together to discuss and plan joint actions for 2023. Between December 9th and 17th, the ANPFA also hosted the LVC International Coordination Committee meeting, where the leaders of the world peasant movement held preparatory discussions for the next International Conference in 2023, among other topics. The delegates also visited some women’s cooperatives and agroecological farms in the Nepali district of Sindhupalchowk.
(Have we missed an important update? If so, you can email the links to firstname.lastname@example.org, which we will include in the next edition. Only updates from La Via Campesina members will be part of this news wrap. For a thorough update of different initiatives from December 2022, visit our website.)
Did you miss the previous editions of our news wrap? Find it here
An abridged version of our Monthly News Wrap is also available as Podcast on Anchor FM and Spotify.