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Call for action for the 17th of April 2006

17 April 2006

International day of peasants’ struggle
In 1996 La Via Campesina April 17th the International Day of  Peasant Struggle)* because of the Massacre in Carajas-Brazil. Since then La Via Campesina and its member organisations have worked together with other movements to organize strong mobilisations and actions against neo-liberal policies. Last year in December, 2005, in Hong Kong we succeeded in applying much pressure on the WTO Ministerial through actions in Hong Kong and back home in our countries. The WTO achieved a minimal deal that represented much less than original expectations. Many organisations mobilised against Free Trade Agreements and in Latin America peoples’ protests successfully led to a stop of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA).

In March of this year in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the governments that came together for the International FAO Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development  did not confirm the neo-liberal policies for Agrarian Reform put forward by the World Bank and instead, they opened up spaces for alternative approaches.

Also in March, 2006, the governments that came together in Curitiba – Brazil did not accept the introduction of terminator technology (sterile seeds) despite heavy pressure by the corporate lobby.

The destructive effects of neo-liberal policies are getting clearer and support for alternative policies is growing. Therefor,e our ongoing mobilisation and action is crucial and has to be strengthened. We have to continue to fight against the liberalisation of markets, the privatisation of natural resources, , and the introduction of GMOs and technologies such as terminator.  We need to struggle for access to and control over resources such as, among others, land, water, and seeds.

Therefore, La Via Campesina calls for action and mobilisation around the following issues at the occasion of April 17th, 2006:

1  Implementation of Genuine Agrarian Reform programs in order to implement the decisions taken by the governments during the FAO
Conference. The final declaration of the FAO Conference committed governments to the « Establishment of appropriate agrarian reform mainly in areas with strong social disparities, poverty and food insecurity, as a means to broaden sustainable access to and control over land and related resources.” These and other parts of the official declaration oblige governments to implement effective programs for genuine agrarian reform. A first occasion where governments can take joint steps to concretize this agenda is September 2006 during the FAO Special Conference.

2  Derail the WTO and other Free Trade Agreements: put pressure on your governments not to accept any deal as any deal will be a bad deal! In the WTO governments are attempting to finalize the Doha Round the end of April or the beginning of May and to come together during the General Council Meeting in Geneva on May 15-16. At this stage it is crucial to increase pressure on national governments and demand that they protect domestic food production against low priced imports and to stop dumping practices.. This last point concerns especially the big exporters such as the European Union, the United States and Brazil.

3  Stop GMOs and related technologies:  No GMOs in agriculture and a definite ban on terminator technologies. In Curitiba, a strong campaign against terminator stopped the governments from introducing this technology. Now we have to continue to push for a definite ban on terminator technologies and roll back on the cultivation of GMO crops. One of the key targets here is Monsanto.  Monsanto must understand that they cannot continue to contaminate and destroy our natural resources!

4 Stop the criminalisation of, and violence against,  peasant organizations. m.  In Lombok, Indonesia, the local police shot at a gathering of 1000 peasants in order to disperse it; in South Korea police violence led to the killing of members of the Korean Peasant League; and in Porto Alegre, Brazil,  the women’s organisation MMC is being criminalised for an action against the cellulose company Aracruz.  And, after 10 years of impunity for the perpetrators of the massacre in Carajas, the MST is launching again a broad campaign to denounce this and to stress the importance of agrarian reform.

Let’s globalise the struggle,

let’s globalise hope!


)* The massacre of 19 members of the Landless Movement in Brazil (MST) occurred on April 17, 1996, during the second International Conference of Via Campesina that was being held in Tlaxcala in Mexico. Each year around this date, all over the world, groups and organisations mobilize and stage actions in the struggle for peasants’ rights.

If you want to receive all the information on the 17th of April please subscribe to the list by sending a blank message to viacam17april-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

If you need more information for an action in your country you can also write to viacampesina@viacampesina.org

Fore more information on the mobilisations and actions in
Hong Kong-WTO, Porto Alegre, Curitiba see www.viacampesina.org

Final declaration FAO Conference in Porto Alegre: see www.icarrd.org  and for the final declaration of the NGO-CSO parallel Forum http://www.foodsovereignty.org/new/

For the campaign against terminator see http://www.banterminator.org/

More info from MST on Carajas :  see http://www.mst.org.br/campanha/carajas/carajas.htm

For more information on WTO see www.ourworldisnotforsale.org and on FTAs see www.bilaterals.org.

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17 April 2006
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