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Call for action for 17th of april 2002: International day of farmers’ struggle
17 July 2002
Via Campesina will mobilize on the 17th of April)° for an international day of protest. We invite other social movements to participate in this day of protest against the neo-liberal policies and mobilize in favour of an alternative project and a dignified life for all.
In Porto Alegre during the II World Social Forum, we social movements, enthusiastically confirmed our will to continue struggling for an alternative project to neo-liberal policies. We hope that this day of the 17 of April will be a strong expression of this will and desire. Last year there were actions in more than 20 countries. We hope that this year we express ourselves with even greather strength than the year before.
The fundamental aim of the Day of Protest is to delegitimize neo-liberal globalization as the prevailing worldwide economic model that generates enormous inequalities, exclusion and impoverishment of our peoples. We are struggling for food sovereignty, diversified farmer-based sustainable production, healthy food, prices that remunerate the work of farmers, the reactivation of the agrarian reform programs, and the WTO out of agriculture.
This year we propose to focus the actions in two main areas: Our fight against genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), patents and “terminator seeds” and against the repression that farm leaders are suffering.
We are struggling to maintain farmer-based agricultural production whose base is farmer seeds, water, biodiversity, rights to genetic resources for farmers (men and women) and an equitable market with just prices. Therefore we are fighting for a ban on the use of the GMOs in agricultural production, patents, “terminator seeds” and other technologies that prevent farmers ability to reproduce their own seeds. We are fighting to establish legislation that respects the collective character of these rights and free access to the genetic resources.
WE MUST MOBILIZE FOR THE FREEDOM OF FARMERS (MEN AND WOMEN) CURRENTLY IN PRISON, TO STOP PERSECUTION AND TO ACHIEVE PUNISHMENT OF THE REAL AUTHORS OF CRIMES.
We feel that repression is increasing. Recently Jose Bove one of the main leaders against globalización and other friends of the Confederation Paysanne, were condemned to prison. In Bolivia several farm leaders are in the jail and others are persecuted; their “crime” was their work for agrarian reform. In Indonesia 9 farmers are in prison because they resisted the take over of their land by the State Forest Company. In Brazil, Central America and many other countries, farm leaders and farmers have been assassinated and no trials have been conducted. In Those directly responsible for this repression at the same time are calling to us to engage in “dialogue” so that we participate supposedly in new policies and fora like the FAO Summit (Roma+5), Johannesburg and others. In these for a the Via Campesina will demand that our friends be released and that repression stops.
The 17 of April, must be a Day of Worldwide Action. For that reason we must be united all, men and women, and organize strong actions against neo-liberal globalization and the repression of those who fight for the cause of farmers and other sectors. ONLY TOGETHER CAN WE MOVE FORWARD.
We are going to publish in the upcoming weeks: -A list of farmers who are in the jail and others that suffer persecution -Concrete demands as far as seeds, GMO’s and patents are concerned Let’s globalise the struggle, let’s globalise hope!
Tegucigalpa, 1-3-2001, Honduras, C.A.
INTERNATIONAL OPERATIVE SECRETARIAT VIA CAMPESINA
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)° The 17th of April is the celebration of the International Day of farmers struggle, established because of the massacre of 19 farmers of the Landless Movement (MST) in Brazil on the 17th of April 1996 during the second conference of Via Campesina in Tlaxcala Mexico.