Declaration of the Second Assembly of Rural Women

FOURTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE VIA CAMPESINA

We, 123 women from 47 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Américas, gathered together in Sao Paulo on June 12-13, 2004, for the Via Campesina’s Second International Assembly of Rural Women. Representing diverse sectors, we achieved unity through solidarity and a commitment to struggle against imperialism and patriarchy whose manifestations affect the lives of women, in particular women in rural areas.
We affirm our unyielding will to remain in the countryside as a place to live, a place where diverse cultures flourish and where there are multiple kinds of social interactions with nature. We also affirm our will to resist at all costs, the neoliberal attempts to turn everything into one big global enterprise which benefits only the interests of transnational corporations and elites.

We, historical discoverers of agriculture, guardians of the earth and seeds, creators of medicinal knowledge and protectors of biodiversity, oppose the threats that free trade imposes on our autonomy, our knowledge, our wisdom, and our right to continue creating harmonious ways of life based on diverse and holistic cosmovisions of our peoples and communities.

We, rural women, who for centuries have produced and transformed food for our communities and peoples, oppose the mercantile vision of agriculture that the World Trade Organization is attempting to impose on the world. This vision, among other consequences, seeks to eliminate our agricultural practices and replace our seeds with transgenic seeds. These seeds are produced in biotechnology laboratories and go against the laws of nature, they contaminate human life and the environment with noxious chemicals and threaten the equilibrium of ecosystems.

We, who are striving to build societies based on justice, equality, and respectful of human rights, denounce the militarization of rural areas, criminalization of social protest, the imposition of military bases, and the invasion and occupation of peoples which generate death, destruction, violence, and threaten the rights of women and the sovereignty of peoples.
As women we demand respect for all of our rights, we reject the patriarchal system and all of its discriminatory manifestations. We reaffirm our full participation as citizens. We demand our right to a life with dignity, respect for our sexual and reproductive rights, and the immediate application of measures to eradicate all forms of physical, sexual, verbal and psychological violence. We also demand the elimination of femicide that persists today.

We demand that States implement measures that guarantee our economic autonomy, access to land, healthcare, education, and equal social status. We demand respect and vigilance of human rights and international humanitarian law in all circumstances.

We emphasize our right to preserve life in the countryside. This is in direct contradiction to the model that is imposed by transnationals whose search for profit exacerbates poverty, precarious employment, rural employment and generates rural depopulation and migration. This model imposes a food culture dependent on the market which not only threatens food sovereignty but also the life of the planet.
Rural women, protagonists of building another possible world are prepared to defend, strengthen and expand our organizations and movements. We will continue to struggle against the neoliberal model and against free trade. We will continue to struggle for food sovereignty, for land and territory, for integrated agrarian reform, for the defense of our seeds as the heritage of peoples, for the economic autonomy of women, gender equality, and for the sovereignty of our peoples.

Sao Paulo, June 12-13, 2004

Lets organize the struggle: land, food, dignity and life.
Lets globalize struggle, lets globalize hope
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