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Serikat Petani Indonesia (SPI) to organise around the Int’l Day of Peasant Struggles (April 17) and Rights of Peasants Day (April 20)
17 April 2017 @ 0 h 00 min - 27 April 2017 @ 0 h 00 min BST
For peasants in Indonesia, two dates in April – the 17th and the 20th – hold massive significance in their persistent struggle for peasants’ rights.
17 April, the day of Eldorado dos Carajás massacre in 1996, when 19 peasants were killed while struggling to defend their land, is marked as the International Day of Peasant Struggles. On this day, members of the Indonesian Peasant Union(SPI) join their sisters and brothers in La Via Campesina around the world, holding solidarity events, promising to globalize their struggles and to globalize hope.
20th April, the Rights of Peasants Day, is when Serikat Petani Indonesia (SPI) and several other peasant movements of the country come together to mark the 16th anniversary of the declaration of the Rights of Indonesian Peasants that they had first issued in Cibubur, West Java in 2001.
The declaration is fundamental to the peasant struggle in Indonesia as a tool to demand freedom from discrimination and violence and to claim their rights. The declaration calls for the following rights to be fulfilled, protected and respected (1) right to land and territory;(2) right to life and decent life standard; (3) right to conservation; (4) right to seed, knowledge and traditional agriculture practice;(5) right to capital and means of agriculture; (6) right to information and agricultural technology;(7) right to determine price and market for agriculture product; (8) right to protection on agriculture values; (9) right to biodiversity; (10) freedom of assembly, speech and expression; (11) rights equality of peasant women and men; and (12) right to access on Justice
At this point, the peasant members of Serikat Petani Indonesia (SPI) are fighting several struggles across the country;
- The ongoing agrarian conflict in Mekar Jaya Village of Langkat District in North Sumatera Province where a plantation firm is forcefully taking away peasants’ land.
- The implementation of agrarian reform through distributing 9 million ha of land (as contained in Nawa Cita and National Medium term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2015-2019) is still far from what is mandated by constitution and peasant needs in Indonesia. This is very important as President Joko Widodo believes that the imbalance of land tenure and economic inequality could be reduced by implementing agrarian reform
- The struggle against free trade agreements that threaten peasant way of life and their welfare as is evident from the decrease in Peasant Exchange Value from 2016 to March 2017.
While SPI acknowledges The Law of Farmer Protection and Empowerment No.19/2013 as a step forward in committing to respect, protect and fulfill of the rights of peasant, the implementation of the law is far from satisfactory.
At the international level, the long struggle of La Via Campesina to bring in a UN declaration on the rights of peasants is at a very advanced stage of realization.
In a show of global solidarity, to mark the International day of Peasant Struggles and the Rights of Peasants Day, SPI will be organizing several events from April 17 till April 27th.
17-27 April: National Agrarian Reform Rally in response to the agrarian conflict and violence faced by peasant members of SPI and a symbolic rally around Hotel Indonesia Monument. A report of the ongoing conflict will be submitted to (i) The National Commission of Human Rights (ii) President, (iii) Ministry of State-Owned Company, (iv) Ministry of Agrarian and Spatial Ministry, (v) National Police, (vi) National Parliament;
20 April: A public discussion and peasant forum in National Library building organized by BAMUSTANI ( Discussion Forum of Peasant Organization) which is national forum alliance of peasant organization that consist of: SPI, IPPHTI, WAMTI, and API.
25 April: Discussion of Agrarian reform, food sovereignty and people plantation pn April 25th, 2017
26-27 April: Conference Indonesian People Plantation organized by SPI, SPKS, API, Sawit Watch, Bina Desa, IHCS (IHCS), and Field Foundation. Conference is expected to conclude a common platform of Independent Peasant Planter, i.e.: a) advancing people plantation, which is environmentally and socially just; b) encouraging Independent Planter Peasants as subject who can transform means of production, market and financial institution c) advancing rights of independent peasant planter, women and labor in plantation, and strengthening the support of civil organization, academic, public figure and state institution to independent peasant planter.
Center Executive Board of SPI
Henry Saragih : Chairman of SPI (0811655668)
Ali Fahmi: Chief of Organization Department of SPI (081318648684)