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April 17th: International day of peasant’s struggles

17 April 2009

Let’s unite for peasant’s rights!

Since 1996 April 17 has been declared by La Via Campesina “International day of Peasant’s Struggles”. This day commemorates the slaughter by the Brazilian police of 19 peasants of the “landless” movement while they mobilized to get access to some land. 13 years later, the struggle for recognition of peasant rights remains a priority of La via Campesina.

The current crises (of finance, climate, energy, food and  biodiversity) have highlighted the responsibility, fragility and absurdity of the liberal economic system. Logic would demand that governments abandon the policies which are causing such crises, and that safeguards be put in place. However we see the opposite: renewed attempts to conclude the Doha Negotiation Round at the WTO, the multiplication across the world of bilateral free trade agreements, launching of a new green revolution based on biotechnologies in Africa, and so on. The European Union (EU)  is even taking up the offensive toward the African countries, aiming for endorsements of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) by June 2009

The EPAs and neoliberal policies are  a real danger for Africa. An Impact study of EPAs on the economy of Mali shows that the signing of the EPA will have dramatic consequences for the small milk producers. Faced with the opening of the markets, many farmers will be forced to give up production.  The EPAs guarantee multinational companies profits but totally fail to attend to the needs of the population.

On April 17, 2009, let’s unite to stop free trade agreements in Africa and everywhere in the world ! Let us mobilize to show that we are tired of seeing men and women’s rights blatantly ignored for the benefit of the gains of multinationals. Let us reassert our options: food sovereignty, and economic integrations that uphold it, such as the Bolivarian Alternative for The Americas (ALBA).

La Via Campesina calls upon all its member organizations, its friends  and allies to unite on this April 17 for peasant’s rights (rights to land, right to seeds, right to water…). You can organise a demonstration, a public debate, a movie screening, a local food expo, a fiesta, a direct action, a singing competition, etc.

Support the Via Campesina Global Campaign for an UN International Convention on the Rights of Peasants as decided at the 5th Conference of the farmers movement in Maputo, October 2008.  It is a tool for all of us to oppose the neoliberal policies in conflict with food sovereignty.

To join the action, subscribe to the distribution list for April 17 by sending a message without text to: http://viacampesina.net/mailman/listinfo/via.17april_viacampesina.net.

Please post on this list all the actions that you are already planning.

More on www.viacampesina.org

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17 April 2009
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