Declaration from the First Asian Continental Youth Assembly

16 January 2020, Srilanka:

We, the young peasants of La Via Campesina, coming from Thailand, South Korea, Indonesia, Philippines, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Srilanka, have assembled here in Ahngama Srilanka during 10-15 January 2020, to hold our first-ever Asian Continental Youth Assembly.

La Via Campesina is our voice. It is the echo and expression of our daily lived realities in the countryside. Today, it is among the most significant movements of food producers comprising peasants, migrant workers, pastoralists, fishers, and indigenous people – spread across 81 countries and organized under 182 peasant and rural organizations.

We come from these organizations, that over the last many decades, have fiercely fought and resisted every attempt to appropriate our rights, our land, our rivers, oceans, and forests.

This assembly of young militants coming from diverse cultural backgrounds, gathered 27 years since the formation of La Via Campesina – are committing today to take forward the struggles for agrarian reform and food sovereignty in our territories. We commit to our elders who bravely fought for our future that we will keep the fire of the struggle alive in the days to come.

As the Youth of La Via Campesina, we pledge today that;

  • We consider Food Sovereignty and agroecology as fundamental to our vision to cooling down the planet. We believe them as the only way of changing the current model imposed by agribusinesses and transnational companies.
  • We reject the neo-liberal, patriarchal, and capitalist models that run counter to nature’s harmony and its relationship to human beings.
  • We reiterate that peasant and indigenous agriculture is the only way of feeding humanity in a way that is healthy, sustainable, and that safeguards biodiversity and identities. We demand that the States support young peasants and more towards agroecology through supportive public policies.
  • We believe that the present threats to peasant communities are higher than ever. The governments are aligning themselves more and more with the imperialists, neo-liberalists at the cost of age-long good practices of peasants and rural people’s livelihood.
  • We reiterate our Right to Seed Sovereignty, water sovereignty, absolute freedom from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), High Yielding Varieties (HYVs), and other green revolution farming techniques, which are detrimental to our food systems.
  • We will fight agribusinesses, trans-national organizations, free trade agreements, and WTO.
  • We acknowledge the rights of peasant women: equal rights and access to land, protection from all forms of violence, exploitation, and discrimination, decision making, fair wages, health care, sexual and reproductive rights. We stress the need for a collective struggle against patriarchy through popular peasant feminism.
  • We are deeply concerned with the crises that the Asian peasantry and agriculture are facing at this juncture. We continue our struggle against these challenges, resist and fight back all the injustice to defend our rights. We, the youths, are ready to take the responsibility of feeding the world, building the movement, and changing the world.

We are thankful for our peasant youth in MONLAR Srilanka, who have enabled this first Youth Assembly in the continent.

We are committed to keeping this spirit of internationalism and solidarity alive and will truly globalize the struggle and globalize the hope of our peoples!