Press Release for the International Day of Action for Peoples’ Food Sovereignty against Transnational Corporations – October 16, 2023
On the 16th of October, as we commemorate the International Day of Struggle for People’s Food Sovereignty, we, La Via Campesina, the global movement of peasants and rural communities, once again take to the streets, flood social media platforms, and occupy public squares and spaces. Our aim is to hold those responsible for the severe food crisis humanity is facing accountable. In today’s world, wars continue to rage destructively. A clear example is Israel’s recent genocidal strategy, which for 10 days has completely denied 2.5 million Palestinians access to essential resources such as food, water and electricity, actions that undeniably constitute war crimes. Our struggle for peoples’ sovereignty over their food and our efforts to confront those who deprive them of it remains a top priority for La Via Campesina.
We denounce the World Food Forum organized by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO) this week in Rome and the ongoing transnational corporations takeover of FAO.
We are highly concerned about the World Food Forum, which is especially encouraging the action of global youth, linking them to new technologies and innovation in the food systems promoted by agribusiness. We do not need a reinvention of corporate power to solve world’s hunger, we need instead our governments to have autonomy to decide about their food. We need our peasant rights to be respected and promoted.
It is we, the peasants, who are guaranteeing food for our peoples on a daily basis, and yet we are also among the populations most affected by these crises. Our lands, our water and our seeds continue to be grabbed and owned by agribusiness transnationals. The climate crisis, exacerbated by extractivism, is displacing millions of us and our families, and hunger and malnutrition continue to increase globally. Our peasant rights to a dignified life and social justice continue to be violated. Our lives are at constant risk.
The call of the global peasant movement remains to return to the land, to continue our ancestral legacy of healthy peasant production with agroecological proposals and equitable participation. We aim to integrate new generations, diversities, and alliances in our territories.
This call for action, also want to highlight the process that social movements have initiated towards building a Nyeleni Global Forum for Food Sovereignty in 2025. At this point, we are engaged in a collective effort to broaden and strengthen the struggle for food sovereignty, by forming alliances with climate justice movements, labor unions, feminist groups, and environmental organizations to foster shared proposals for systemic change. Our upcoming 8th International Conference to be held in Colombia from December 1st to 8th will also be a decisive space for convergence and mobilization.
This October, we will continue to negotiate for a binding treaty to effectively challenge transnational corporate power and impunity. Together with civil society, we are in a campaign to end the human-rights violations that transnational corporations continue to do with impunity on our lands and territories. From 23 to 27 of 2023, a peasant delegation will participate in the 9th Session of the Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group (OEIGWG), charged with elaborating a UN Binding Treaty on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights (OEIGWG). Legal progress at the international level would allow us to take transnational agribusiness corporations to court whenever they violate our rights, just as they do with our States when they fail to comply with their imposed norms.
A new achievement: UNDROP now has a Special Procedure at the United Nations
Our current struggle for Food Sovereignty is making great progress in the international legal framework. Since the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas – UNDROP, we have not stopped mobilizing for its implementation at global, national, regional and local levels. When COVID restrictions were lifted worldwide allowing a return to normal life, LVC and our allies seized the moment to increase pressure for the creation of a Special Procedure (specifically a UN Working Group) on UNDROP at the UN Human Rights Council before the end of 2023.
And we have succeeded. The UN Working Group on UNDROP, adopted in a UN Human Rights Council resolution this October 11, will be responsible for monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the UNDROP, and for providing support and technical assistance to countries to help them better implement the Declaration. This UN Working Group will be very useful to strengthen the promotion and protection of the rights of food producers around the globe. There is no doubt that humanity can use this mechanism to tackle the global crises we face, especially in rural areas. This is a huge victory in our fight for Food Sovereignty.
Urgent actions to safeguarding Food Sovereignty and Human Rights:
- Immediate restoration of essential resources: We demand that Israel immediately restore access to essential resources, including food, water, and electricity, to the 2.5 million Palestinians in Gaza. The denial of these basic necessities constitutes a violation of international law and human rights. This request is also extended to all peoples whose Food Sovereignty is being violated by the actions of other States as a result of wars and conflicts like Haiti, Cuba, Niger, among others.
- Binding Treaty Against Corporate Impunity: We call for the swift finalization and adoption of a legally-binding treaty that holds transnational corporations accountable for human rights violations. Transnational agribusiness corporations must be held legally responsible whenever they infringe upon our rights.
- Full Implementation and Monitoring of UNDROP: We urge the international community to actively support and monitor the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP). The newly established UN Working Group on UNDROP should be empowered to ensure that the rights of food producers globally are promoted, protected, and upheld.
Faced with global crises, we build food sovereignty to ensure a future for humanity
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Find out about more actions taking place around the world. HERE