Via Campesina English https://viacampesina.org/en International Peasant's Movement Fri, 03 Jul 2020 10:24:01 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants: A Tool in the Struggle for our Common Future https://viacampesina.org/en/the-united-nations-declaration-on-the-rights-of-peasants-a-tool-in-the-struggle-for-our-common-future/ Fri, 03 Jul 2020 10:23:59 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10593 E-book and PDF versions of “The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants” for free The book “The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants: A Tool in the Struggle for our Common Future” in E-book and PDF versions in English and Spanish is now free! Download Here

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E-book and PDF versions of “The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants” for free

The book “The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants: A Tool in the Struggle for our Common Future” in E-book and PDF versions in English and Spanish is now free!

Download Here

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La Via Campesina condemns the colonialist annexation plan in Palestine https://viacampesina.org/en/la-via-campesina-condemns-israelis-annexation-plans-of-palestine/ Thu, 02 Jul 2020 14:58:32 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10591 “Peasants and other people working in rural areas have the right to be protected against arbitrary and unlawful displacement from their land or place of habitual residence, or from other natural resources used in their activities and necessary for the enjoyment of adequate living conditions…”  – Article 17.4 of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights... Read more →

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“Peasants and other people working in rural areas have the right to be protected against arbitrary and unlawful displacement from their land or place of habitual residence, or from other natural resources used in their activities and necessary for the enjoyment of adequate living conditions…”  – Article 17.4 of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas[1]

(Harare, July 2, 2020) Steadfast in our solidarity with all those who struggle for Food Sovereignty and the full realization of peasants’ rights, La Via Campesina expresses our unwavering support for the Palestinian people and peasant movement united against U.S.-backed Israeli attempts to annex the vital lands, waters, and territories of occupied Palestine’s Area C. On behalf of our 200 million members organized in 182 local and national organisations around the world, La Via Campesina adds our voice to global opposition[2] to Israel’s illegal annexation plans and reiterates our demand for an end to the entire Israeli occupation. 

“In the Palestinian context, the issue of Food Sovereignty is of great importance, considering the Israeli military occupation that has full control over Palestinian natural resources, including land, water, pastures, and fisheries.” [3]

The Criminal Annexation of Palestine’s Breadbasket

Israel’s occupation of Palestine has included, since 1967, a system of control whereby natural resources are appropriated and exploited for the benefit of Israelis at the expense of Palestinian lives and livelihoods. It has created increasingly unlivable conditions for Palestinians in the occupied territories in order to force them to relocate and allow Israel to permanently annex lands, waters and territories. In the Jordan Valley, for example, unlivable conditions led to a significant drop of the Palestinian population over the past several decades – from 320,000 in 1967 to only 58,239 today[4].  According to the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, the Jordan Valley “is the most fertile and resource-rich area of the West Bank, with key land reserves for natural expansion. It is known for its rich agricultural production, warm climate, abundant water resources, and also attracts tourism with over 80 historical and cultural sites”.

During July 2020, the Israeli government intends to push through an illegal annexation of 30% of the occupied West Bank and roughly 50% of Area C – Palestinian territory under full Israeli administrative and security control as per the Oslo Accords. Area A – administered exclusively by the Palestinian Authority – makes up only 18% of the West Bank while Area B – supposedly under Palestinian civil control and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control – makes up about 21% of the same area. Area C, meanwhile, includes over 61% of the West Bank, runs between both Areas A and B, and is under complete Israeli control, including security, planning, and zoning. As part of Oslo I and Oslo II, the entirety of Areas A, B, and C were supposed to be under the full governance of the Palestinian Authority before the year 2000 but respect for the Palestinian Right to Self Determination has not materialized, to say the least[5].

The Jordan Valley, as noted above, is considered the breadbasket of the future Palestinian state. It contains vital land and water resources for the natural expansion of Palestinian towns and cities and Palestinian agriculture industries. It has the richest water resources in the whole of the West Bank and is essential for the lives and livelihoods of most Palestinian farmers, their families and urban fellows. In short, Its annexation would gravely violate the rights of all Palestinians – especially its peasant farmers. Israel already controls most of the water resources in the area, causing Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, especially those in Area C, to suffer from water inaccessibility.[6] By blocking access to land, water and territory, Israel is attempting to consolidate its control over Palestinians’ food production and prevent any attempt towards self-sufficiency, Food Sovereignty, and disengagement with the occupation economy.

La Via Campesina stands in solidarity with our member organization in Palestine – the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) – and calls on friends and allies alike to join us in denouncing the U.S.-backed Israeli Annexation Plan. We consider it an explicit violation of international law, including the UN Declaration on Peasants Rights, and point to its prevention of people from accessing their own natural resources such as land and water, producing their own food and choosing the most sustainable, resilient, productive, diverse, locally appropriate food system that suits them.

We call on the international community and all who struggle for human rights to:

– Take urgent and effective actions to reject the US proposition which is in violation of UN resolutions and stop Israeli plans of illegal annexations in Area C. The UN itself, together with the international community, must act immediately to halt Israel’s annexation plans, defend the rights of Palestinians, and uphold both international law and UN credibility;

– Take decisive action, including employing all available lawful countermeasures to uphold accountability in order to halt further annexation and severance of Palestinian territorial integrity and ensure rapid reversal of those measures announced or already implemented.


[1]     https://undocs.org/en/A/RES/73/165

[2]     https://www.eccpalestine.org/un-rights-experts-call-for-global-opposition-to-israels-annexation-plans/

[3]       https://viacampesina.org/en/declaration-of-the-international-conference-on-food-sovereignty-colony-and-frontiers/

[4]     http://www.passia.org/maps/view/74

[5]          Union of Agricultural Work Committees: “Reality of Area C: A human rights perspective”, 2019.

[6]         Union of Agricultural Work Committees: “Factsheet 1- Current Status of Jordan Valley”, 2019.

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United against COVID-19: An ongoing emergency campaign launched by UAWC https://viacampesina.org/en/united-against-covid-19-an-ongoing-emergency-campaign-launched-by-uawc/ Tue, 30 Jun 2020 08:37:37 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10589 United against COVID-19 is an ongoing emergency campaign launched by UAWC aimed to contribute to the recovery of the pandemic’s repercussions According to UAWC’s developmental philosophy, which was raised with its slogan (We protect our land and we support our farmers), and from the first moment the state of emergency was announced as a result... Read more →

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United against COVID-19 is an ongoing emergency campaign launched by UAWC aimed to contribute to the recovery of the pandemic’s repercussions

According to UAWC’s developmental philosophy, which was raised with its slogan (We protect our land and we support our farmers), and from the first moment the state of emergency was announced as a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Palestine and in the entire world, UAWC mobilized all its staff and agricultural committees in various regions of the West Bank from its north to its south, in order to support small scale farmers and their families. Through its campaign “United Against COVID-19”, UAWC was able to reach 9354 families; where it distributed 1,490 hygiene kits, 358,000 vegetable seedlings, and 855 food parcels. In addition to contributing to the delivery of vegetable parcels to 3,000 families in Bethlehem, where the outbreak of the virus started.

During the first phases of its campaign, UAWC targeted families who live in remote and marginalized areas where no medical services or government health care are provided. UAWC’s staff were able to reach 1,490 families of small scale farmers and livestock breeders in 85 Bedouin communities that are distributed all through the different governorates in the West Bank, especially in Jordan Valley and the south. On another hand, UAWC has organized a donation campaign for Bethlehem and its suburbs where the entire city was under obligatory self-quarantine. This resulted in a lack of food and the basic needs of families. Through this emergency campaign, a convoy of three trucks loaded with essential vegetable varieties was sent to the city. The vegetables were collected from farmers and agricultural cooperative in the governorates of Qalqilya, Jenin, Jericho, and the Jordan Valley.

These trucks were loaded with 40 tons of vegetables distributed to 3,000 families in Bethlehem. In connection with the concept of food sovereignty and from UAWC’s deep attention to transforming this concept from a slogan that was raised 17 years ago to a reality that all Palestinians practice in the countryside, cities, and camps, UAWC has participated in the campaign launched by the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture in cooperation with PAIC (Palestinian Agricultural Institutions Coalition) which revolved around the distribution of one million vegetable seedlings to families in different areas in the West Bank, with the purpose of encouraging them to go back to the land and cultivating home gardens. UAWC’s role was very prominent in the campaign as it worked on distributing 400 thousand vegetable seedlings to a total of four thousand families distributed along 110 locations in the West Bank. The Local Seed Bank by UAWC has contributed to providing 122 thousand vegetable seedlings with the goal of enabling farmers to produce their own food in order to reinforce the concept of food sovereignty.

As a result of the continuation of the state of emergency, which was extended for three months in a row, numerous families were heavily affected. This is why UAWC followed a unique way of studying the needs of communities and locations of families who lost their sources of income, especially agricultural and local workers. In order to determine their needs, a survey was conducted to clarify the items that are the most essential to each family, then to deliver them. This was done through providing each family with food parcels which contents were designed by the families themselves, and based on that survey, about 900 food parcels were distributed to 32 communities and locations in the West Bank.

UAWC ended the fourth stage of its campaign by targeting more than 227 communities in various governorates of the West Bank, and the work continues to implement its programs and projects that serve its vision and mission in supporting the resilience of small farmers, protecting land, and contributing to the consolidation of the concept of food sovereignty as a basic lever towards self-sufficiency and national liberation.

Despite the current difficult circumstances, UAWC will continue its campaign in the upcoming period with the aim of supporting farmers to contribute as much as possible to the recovery from the repercussions of the Corona pandemic.

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MST’s Internationalist Brigades and the fight against COVID-19 and for life in Africa and Latin America https://viacampesina.org/en/msts-internationalist-brigades-and-the-fight-against-covid-19-and-for-life-in-africa-and-latin-america/ Fri, 26 Jun 2020 13:34:00 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10581 The world is currently undergoing a serious health crisis and is possibly facing the biggest social and economic crisis of the 21st century. While scientists strive to find ways to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, hypotheses about the origin are being made. The fact is that there is a high probability that the virus that caused... Read more →

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The world is currently undergoing a serious health crisis and is possibly facing the biggest social and economic crisis of the 21st century. While scientists strive to find ways to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, hypotheses about the origin are being made. The fact is that there is a high probability that the virus that caused this pandemic may have originated from the environmental crisis we are also facing and the actions of the capital, especially in agriculture. Agri-business has been promoting deforestation and the destruction of forests while pesticides continue to poison rivers, soils, the environment and our food.

At the time of the pandemic’s advance, with increasing extreme poverty and increasingly difficult access to food, peasants became an essential subject for overcoming this crisis. This is because they have the possibility of feeding the population by producing and providing food free of poison and by building and strengthening a technological matrix of agricultural production based on the principles of agroecology and solidarity which is capable of opposing the selfish and destructive model of agribusiness.


On the other hand, these same peasants are in a vulnerable situation. In most countries there is no state policy that preserves the integrity of this subject and that encourages the production, sale and distribution of the food produced for the population. In addition, most of these families, who live and work in the fields, are far from health centers prepared to diagnose and care for those infected. In addition, most of these families, who live and work in the fields, are far from health centers that are prepared to diagnose and care for those infected. This fact puts the lives of these farmers at risk.

From the Landless Rural Workers Movement, we are sure that confronting agribusiness and building a society without oppressors and oppressed is a task for the working class as a whole, and that the trenches of struggle must be opened around the world.

For this reason, since our creation, we have constructed internationalism as a political line based on the values such as solidarity and love between peoples. For us internationalism is a principle, as it is one of the foundations of the MST, and as a revolutionary strategy that helps us to define actions that seek the articulation of the working class in different countries, allowing us to accumulate forces to face and defeat capital in all its dimensions and in all places of the world.

Our internationalist brigades are perhaps the best manifestation of this political line. They are collectives of our organization formed by militants from our different regions who live and work in different countries, in cooperation with local progressive organizations, where we stand in solidarity as a class and people’s fighters.

In the face of this global disaster, aggravated by capital and with consequences that affect the entire working class, our internationalist solidarity brigades are redirecting their actions to fight the coronavirus and prevent the increase in the number of deaths and infected people, in the countryside and in poor neighborhoods.

Thus, we are carrying out actions to exchange experiences among peasants on the production of healthy food, reforestation, seed donation, literacy of young people and adults and on the production and distribution of hygiene and protective materials, individual and collective, in countries where we are based.

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Colombia is militarising its territories instead of promoting peace https://viacampesina.org/en/colombia-is-militarising-its-territories-instead-of-promoting-peace/ Thu, 25 Jun 2020 11:26:05 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10579 States must respect, promote and guarantee human rights; however, it seems necessary to remind Duque’s government of the existence of these international obligations. Since 2016, when the Peace Agreement between the Colombian State and the extinct FARC-EP guerrillas was signed, violence against human rights defenders, land restitution leaders, social leaders, people in reincorporation process and,... Read more →

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States must respect, promote and guarantee human rights; however, it seems necessary to remind Duque’s government of the existence of these international obligations.

Since 2016, when the Peace Agreement between the Colombian State and the extinct FARC-EP guerrillas was signed, violence against human rights defenders, land restitution leaders, social leaders, people in reincorporation process and, in general, rural communities, has gradually increased. 844 incidents of aggressions against social leaders were documented in 2019 alone, the highest in the last decade1. Between January and May 2020, 117 social leaders and 25 ex-combatants were murdered.

Different sectors of society have called for the State to address this problem, stressing that the provision of security in the territories will not be adequate if it is limited to enhance the presence of military forces. One of the most reliable strategies to promote safety in these areas is economical and social development, offering young people economic opportunities to stop being linked to war.

Nevertheless, the strategy of Iván Duque’s government has focused on the militarisation of the territories, which takes place within the framework of the State’s persistent disregard for the commitments made in Havana. 

The best example of this is the current strategy adopted to combat drug trafficking. The Final Agreement recognises that the definitive solution to the problem of illicit drugs requires policies that address the causes and consequences of this phenomenon.

It can be done mainly by presenting alternatives that lead to improving the well-being and quality of life of communities across the country’s territories that have been affected by crops used for illicit purposes. An indisputable foundation of the definitive solution to the problem of crops used for illicit purposes is that it is voluntary and carried out by mutual agreement2, vision from which the Agreement prioritises the voluntary substitution of crops within the framework of the National Comprehensive Programme for the Substitution of Crops Used for Illicit Purposes (NCPS), allowing, subsidiarily, forced eradication activities.

As stipulated in the Agreement, forced eradication is only allowed in three cases: (i) when, in the context of the signing of agreements with the communities, some growers who do not express their decision to replace the crops, (ii) when the commitments made under the NCPS are not fulfilled and (iii) when there is no agreement with the communities for replacement. However, we are witnessing a blatant disregard for these provisions by the State.

The current government has not only decided to stop concluding voluntary replacement agreements with communities but has also prioritised forced eradication operations. These types of activities are not only carried out contrary to the provisions of the Agreement but are also producing situations of human rights violations.

Forced eradication operations have intensified, during the health emergency caused by the pandemic, in 8 departments of the country: Caquetá, Chocó, Sur de Córdoba, Catatumbo, Nariño, Putumayo, Meta and Guaviare. Communities have been protesting. Not only to defend the crops that constitute their only means of subsistence but also to demand that the government comply with the commitments made in the substitution agreements. This Agreement, they remind, were made in consultation with the communities within the framework of the NCPS.

During this period, repressive measures have been the government’s response to the demands of the peasants, leading to the assassination of at least three peasants and one indigenous person, in addition to several wounded. These facts are the result of excessive use of force by the army, which, without any commiseration or respect for human rights, fires bullets and uses stun bombs against unarmed communities.

These kinds of situations have taken place, for example, in Catatumbo, where 600 peasants protested to prevent the 800 eradicators sent by the government from lifting their crops and leaving them without means of subsistence. 

The peasants, as well as local authorities like the mayor, Assembly and Governor of the department, requested the Duque government to suspend these operations, at least during the health emergency produced by COVID-19, as well as the installation of dialogue tables with the communities to build exits that do not violate human rights. 

However, as has become commonplace under Duque’s government, the invitation to dialogue was ignored, and force was used, which not only deprived hundreds of families of their livelihoods but also led to the murder of 22-year-old, named Alejandro Carvajal.

A similar situation is taking place in the region of the Guayabero River, in the departments of Meta and Guaviare where, since May 20, around 2000 peasants have set up a camp as a form of protest, demanding the government to install dialogue tables to seek for solutions to the problem of illicit purposes crops. However, the only answer to their requests is the shooting. The aggressions of the public forces have been taking place since May 26; last June 3, at least six peasants were wounded due to the actions of the anti-narcotics police and the army.

Parliamentarians, NGOs, academics, local authorities and the Ombudsman’s Office raised the alarm about the forced eradication and its implementation during the health emergency. The Minister of Defense responded citing that operations are onschedule for 2020, the year in which 130,000 hectares are to be eradicated! So, why is there a timetable for forced eradication, but not for the signing of voluntary replacement agreements with communities? Moreover, why are resources allocated to forced eradication operations, but not to comply with the almost 100,000 families with whom the State has concluded replacement agreements and who are still waiting for the promised resources to be able to undertake other types of productive projects?

It is necessary to remark that half of the families linked to the NCPS are in Putumayo, Nariño, and Caquetá, three of the six departments where forced eradication operations have increased in 2020. 

Protests have a common demand: the fulfilment of the agreements signed with the families and the linking of thousands more who could not be linked to the substitution programs and who have expressed their intention to do so. It should be recalled that, four months after becoming president, Duque decided to stop concluding voluntary replacement agreements with the communities, which is a clear breach of the Agreement.

All this is taking place as a prelude to the arrival of 50 US military personnel in Colombia on June 1. Their actions will be focused on Tumaco, Catatumbo, and Chiribiquete, 3 of the five ¨Zonas Futuro¨ that Duque has been implementing and which reflects a model of militaristic stabilisation. ¨Zonas Futuro¨ overlaps with the areas that have been prioritised for the implementation of the Development Programmes with a Territorial-Based Focus (DPTF) set out in the Peace Agreement. It is clear that the State has stopped distorting the Final Agreement; now, it cynically ignores what it signed in Havana.


1 El espectador (23 mayo 2020). “2019, the year with the most attacks on social leaders in a decade”. https://www.elespectador.com/colombia2020/pais/2019-el-ano-con-mas-agresiones-lideres-sociales-en-una-decada-articulo-920772

2 Acuerdo final para la terminación del conflicto y la construcción de una paz estable y duradera (2016) Page 105.

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India: KRRS farmers protest in different districts across Karnataka against amendments to land law https://viacampesina.org/en/india-krrs-farmers-protest-in-different-districts-across-karnataka-against-amendments-to-land-law/ Mon, 22 Jun 2020 06:49:10 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10577 Since the time Karnataka government announced that it would bring amendments to the Karnataka Land Reforms Act-1961, thousands of farmers organized under the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, and Hasiru Sene (KRRS) are protesting against the government’s move throughout the state. On 20th June, Saturday, KRRS members carried out coordinated actions and demonstrations in many district and taluk... Read more →

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Since the time Karnataka government announced that it would bring amendments to the Karnataka Land Reforms Act-1961, thousands of farmers organized under the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, and Hasiru Sene (KRRS) are protesting against the government’s move throughout the state. On 20th June, Saturday, KRRS members carried out coordinated actions and demonstrations in many district and taluk administrative headquarters in Karnataka, calling upon the state government to withdraw the amendment.

KRRS members termed these amendments as an anti-farmer and pro-corporate move by the government. The farmers are worried that the law will facilitate realtors to grab more farmlands and will lead to landlessness. Farmers also alleged that amendment favoured the rich and the real estate agents. They said that the changes brought is not in the interest of the agrarian sector. The new changes to the Act will only help the rich and the corporate to buy more land. It will have socio-economic impacts in rural areas besides its effect on food sovereignty and security, said the members.

KRRS farmers staged protests in Belagavi, Mandya, Mysuru, Hassan, Raichur, Gadag, Chikkaballapura, Madikeri, Yadagiri, Bagalakote, Shivamogga, Chamarajanagar and many other taluk headquarters. The government should immediately withdraw the amendments, or else we will intensify our protest in the coming days, warned the members.

For more information on this, follow the South Asia blog

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Canada: More than 400 migrant farm workers have tested positive with COVID-19 across Southern Ontario https://viacampesina.org/en/canada-more-than-400-migrant-farm-workers-have-tested-positive-with-covid-19-across-southern-ontario/ Mon, 22 Jun 2020 06:32:16 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10574 In the past month, Mexican migrant farm workers Bonifacio Eugenio Romero and Rogelio Muñoz Santosa have died of COVID-19 in Southwestern Ontario.  They lost their lives to feed us and to provide for their families back home. The National Farmers Union – Ontario (NFU-O) is devastated by their tragic deaths. We extend our deepest condolences... Read more →

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In the past month, Mexican migrant farm workers Bonifacio Eugenio Romero and Rogelio Muñoz Santosa have died of COVID-19 in Southwestern Ontario.  They lost their lives to feed us and to provide for their families back home.

The National Farmers Union – Ontario (NFU-O) is devastated by their tragic deaths. We extend our deepest condolences to their family, friends, and to all the essential agricultural workers who are risking their health and safety to bring food to Canadian tables every day.

More than 400 migrant farm workers have tested positive with COVID-19 in mass outbreaks across Southern Ontario. It is spreading among migrant workers due to overcrowded, unsanitary housing and unsafe working conditions, and/or a failure to quickly identify and isolate infected workers.

The NFU-O is concerned that not all farmers are complying with government regulations regarding the pandemic. We worry that government inspections of farms and migrant worker accommodations are being conducted remotely and will not be effective in the absence of surprise on-site inspections for verification. We are troubled that some migrant workers are not receiving adequate and ongoing information on health and safety protocols in the language of their choice.

Migrant farm workers are contracting the virus in the local community. They arrive in Canada in good health and are compliant with the 14-day quarantine protocol. Uncoordinated quarantine measures are unfairly stigmatizing these workers, despite the fact that they are not the source of the outbreaks. The NFU-O is against discriminatory exclusionary measures that target migrant workers, such as identification cards and restricted and prohibited movement on and off of the farm. We find the ongoing and systemic racism migrant farm workers experience abhorrent, including reports that they are being denied entry into local grocery stores. Migrant workers deserve to live and work in safety and dignity.

The NFU has a long-standing position in support of migrant workers. The NFU has joined calls for regulatory changes so that migrant workers can change jobs without threat of deportation, have full access to health care and other employee benefits, and be granted permanent resident status. We stand in solidarity with the Migrant Workers Alliance and Justicia for Migrant Workers in their outrage over the deaths of Bonifacio Eugenio Romero and Rogelio Muñoz Santos and their efforts to improve migrant workers’ housing, working, and status conditions.”Unheeded Warnings: COVID-19 & Migrant Workers in Canada,” a recent report by the Migrant Workers Alliance can be found here.


For more information, please contact the NFU-O office at 1-888-832-9638 or office@nfuontario.ca

(Cover Image: Representative. Source: The Atlantic)

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Lalla Mimouna disaster: hundreds of Moroccan agricultural workers affected by the coronavirus https://viacampesina.org/en/lalla-mimouna-disaster-hundreds-of-moroccan-agricultural-workers-affected-by-the-coronavirus/ Mon, 22 Jun 2020 06:26:05 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10572 On June 19, 2020, at a strawberry processing unit in Lalla Mimouna, in the west of Morocco, more than 600 migrant farm workers tested positive for Coronavirus, a majority of them women.  FNSA, the local member of La Via Campesina in Morocco has called out the contemptuous treatment meted out to migrant workers, and the... Read more →

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On June 19, 2020, at a strawberry processing unit in Lalla Mimouna, in the west of Morocco, more than 600 migrant farm workers tested positive for Coronavirus, a majority of them women. 

FNSA, the local member of La Via Campesina in Morocco has called out the contemptuous treatment meted out to migrant workers, and the government’s appalling neglect of the workers’ plight. It has also warned of such recurrence in other regions of the country. 

On June 20, the federation members released a press release, that reads as follows; 

La Fédération Nationale du Secteur Agricole (FNSA) – affiliated to the Moroccan Labor Union, is following with great concern the spread of the coronavirus pandemic among hundreds of agricultural workers on the farms of production of red fruits and refrigeration and packaging stations in the village of Lalla Maimouna. 

The cases of infection reached the families of the workers and their entourage in several villages and the districts of the city of Souk Larbaa Algharb. A state of panic has spread throughout the region, which is experiencing excessive agricultural activity despite the repeated warning about the horrific operating conditions of hundreds of thousands of workers. 

La Fédération Nationale du Secteur Agricole (FNSA) condemns the contemptous attitude of agricultural employers towards their workers.  

 “Lalla Mimouna disaster” is the result of unsafe working conditions in which agricultural workers have been working before and during the pandemic. FNSA has long confronted those responsible for this situation and alerted the Ministry of Labor and Professional Integration and the Ministry of Agriculture so that they assume full responsibility for the case, caused by the humiliating and dangerous conditions of transport and the working conditions qualifying as modern slavery.

In light of the above,

  • We express our solidarity with the workers and citizens who are infected. We demand that they are taken care of and cared for in the conditions of accommodation. We insist that they receive the adequate and quality treatment necessary to save their lives and that their cases be considered as occupational diseases, to protect their rights.
  • We hold the government fully responsible for the maintenance of agricultural activities not necessary for food, in the sole interest of agribusinesses, despite the threat to the safety and health of workers and citizens in general. This action has led to the appearance of new pandemic outbreaks. It has further stressed the emergency response system of the State.
  • We attribute the responsibility for the spread of covid19 in the Lalla Mimouna region, and the resulting State of general panic, to the public authorities responsible for monitoring compliance with the health emergency measures at the local and provincial level. 
  • We denounce the delay caused in the decision to close the packing areas and stations in the Lail Maimouna and Moulay Bousselham region. It is an attempt to obscure the responsibilities and to escape carrying out preventive covid19 contamination tests, even though workers and residents of the area have been asking for it since the beginning of May.  
  • We consider that one of the leading causes of the disaster is the exclusion of agricultural workers from the compensation of workers on sick leave due to the pandemic. We call for an immediate end to this discrimination which pushes agricultural workers to agree to work at all costs and fall prey to savage employers and profit-seeking intermediaries.
  • We call on all Allied working-class forces to step up their support for agricultural workers who face exploitation and oppression in the Western Region and across the country. We urge everyone to support the workers in their fight against discrimination and humiliation. We stand for their right to organize. 

Finally, the La Fédération Nationale du Secteur Agricole (FNSA) reiterates its firm condemnation of the government agencies concerned and of the agribusinesses that are directly responsible for the Lalla Mimouna disaster and the possible spread of the pandemic in other regions experiencing the same conditions. 


Also read:


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The Gaza blockade is entering its fourteenth year https://viacampesina.org/en/the-gaza-blockade-is-entering-its-fourteenth-year/ Fri, 19 Jun 2020 17:14:41 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10570 In solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza and the rest of Palestine, La Via Campesina’s Arab and North Africa region is calling for the immediate lifting of the brutal blockade. As on June 14 2020, thirteen years have gone by since the Israeli occupation first imposed this brutal blockade on our brave people in... Read more →

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In solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza and the rest of Palestine, La Via Campesina’s Arab and North Africa region is calling for the immediate lifting of the brutal blockade.


As on June 14 2020, thirteen years have gone by since the Israeli occupation first imposed this brutal blockade on our brave people in the Gaza Strip. In this period, 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza have lived in a virtual prison, under the weight of a land, sea, and air blockade. The complete closure of the Gaza Strip has paralysed the movement of people and impeded the circulation of goods, fuel, and medical supplies. By preventing fisherpeople and farmers from going about their daily work and by making them the targets of its criminal army, the occupying power continues to cause starvation among the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip.

Throughout the years of the blockade, the occupying power has acted with unrestrained arrogance. It has killed thousands of children, women, elderly, and men in the Gaza Strip by bombing homes, hospitals, and schools. They have even targeted the United Nations relief agency for Palestine and attacked ships with humanitarian supplies from all over the world. All this has happened under the full flare of the international community, and the successive governments in the United States have been complicit in carrying out these actions.

This blockade has resulted in a poverty rate of over 65%. It has led to alarming levels of food insecurity(72%) and created a dizzying rise in unemployment, which now stands at 43%. The dispossession and alienation of a population do not end there. There is a 40% shortage of medications. Four in every five factories have shut down. This brutal blockade has destroyed nearly 70% of houses and over 80% of farmland and crops.

In this context, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees has documented hundreds of acts of aggression targeting farmers, fisherpeople and threatening the viability of agriculture in Gaza. The Israeli army has opened fire on peasants, poisoned crops with chemicals, drowned fields by opening dams, destroyed boats and confiscated the equipment of fisherpeople.

Despite the effects of these attacks and the blockade, the farmers and fisherpeople of Gaza continue to resist. They bravely defy the colonisers and is making the provision of food for the Palestinian people their priority.

La Via Campesina’s Arab and North African region considers the continuation of the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip to be in and of itself a crime against humanity, one to which can be applied the terms of apartheid, war crimes, and genocide.

For this reason:

• We are calling for the immediate lifting of the brutal blockade. We believe that the main objective of this blockade is to bring an end to the liberation struggle of the Palestinian people, and, by starving and impoverishing them, destroying their economy and fragmenting their social and political structure. The blockade intends to drive the people of Palestine to a slow death. Thanks to the resistance and courage of our people in Gaza, this has not happened, and it will not happen.

• We remind the whole world of the suffering of the people of Palestine under the occupation. We call upon the peoples and countries of the world to show real and active solidarity with the Palestinian people. Denounce the crimes against humanity perpetrated against them. One of the most effective means of showing solidarity and of supporting the Palestinian people is the economic boycott, the refusal to buy products, including agricultural products, from the occupying power.

• We reaffirm our struggle to defend the rights of the Palestinian people to their land and the creation of their independent State. We support their brave resistance to the deadly and destructive Israeli war machine. We categorically reject the agreements such as the ‘Deal of the Century’ drafted behind closed doors without consultation with those whose rights are in question and with the support of the imperialist governments and the reactionary governments of the region, to negate the Palestinian cause.

• We pay tribute to the global solidarity movement that is standing beside Palestinians supporting their just cause and their right to sovereignty over their land and natural resources. We call for continuous pressure to condemn and delegitimise the occupation, boycott its economy, and bring it before the international tribunals to answer for its historical crimes. Our tribute to the people in our region, who have rejected any form of normalisation, for decades. We warn and alert them against the latter’s repeated attempts – with the backing of dubious lobbies and the reactionary governments of the region – to undermine their position.

• We support the struggles of Palestinian farmers, fisherpeople, and farmworkers. We are calling for this support to be sustained until there is full recognition of the national rights of Palestinians and until social and economic justice becomes a reality for peasants, fisherpeople and farmworkers. We continue to insist upon the need for an international day of solidarity with Palestinian farmers and fisherpeople.

• We declare our solidarity with all of the peoples subjected to blockades everywhere. To all of the people in Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and elsewhere, who are living under the weight of economic sanctions by the United States, we offer our solidarity.

• We pay tribute to our comrades in the Union of Agricultural Work Committees and to the movement of Palestinian peasants who are struggling for food sovereignty, peace, and justice in Palestine and the Arab and North Africa region.

Long live a Palestine that is free and independent. Long live the peasant struggle all over the world.


(This press note was released by the Arab and North Africa region of La Via Campesina on June 14, 2020)

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Say Their Names! Anti-Racism Statement; Honoring Our Black Farmworker | Farmworker Association of Florida https://viacampesina.org/en/say-their-names-anti-racism-statement-honoring-our-black-farmworker-farmworker-association-of-florida/ Fri, 19 Jun 2020 14:16:33 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10568 Say Their Names! George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all the others, whose lives have been lost senselessly, needlessly and tragically because of an ever-pervasive and inherent racism that infects our country.…like a pandemic. We will say their names and we will continue to say their names, because their lives matter! Because this moment... Read more →

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Say Their Names! George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all the others, whose lives have been lost senselessly, needlessly and tragically because of an ever-pervasive and inherent racism that infects our country.…like a pandemic. We will say their names and we will continue to say their names, because their lives matter! Because this moment in our country’s history is pulling back the veil from the lies that have perpetrated a system that declares “liberty and justice for all”, but has failed to live up to that promise for far too many people, most of them whose skin color is Black.

We cannot close our eyes anymore; we cannot hide behind the curtain and profess equality under the law, when we have seen the truth exposed, and have seen the many lives that have been cut short, bringing profound pain and trauma to family members and to our nation – a nation in which an emergency worker is shot in her bed as she sleeps; in which a man is suffocated under the knee of an officer of the law as others stood by, watched and videotaped; in which a man out for a pleasant jog is gunned down by civilians for no just cause. But, these are not all. The names are far too many in number, but we will remember them all, because they lived, and breathed and made a difference in the world! They were part of the fabric of America. And, their lives continue to be a clarion to us all that we ignore only at our peril. For whatever happens to the least of us, happens to us all. Quoting the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

The Farmworker Association of Florida unequivocally condemns the policies and their racist roots and underpinnings that have for far too long privileged one race over another. The past is not past at all. Just as we walk on land stolen from the indigenous first nations people in this country, we reside in a land that was built on the backs of people torn from their homes in Africa to be subjugated to hard labor and “ownership” as slaves on plantations. What has been omitted from our history books is now bubbling to the surface. The truth must be told or it will continue to haunt us. Slave labor built the wealth of this country and fed and fueled the industrial revolution. The underlying roots in the evil of slavery continue to contaminate our contemporary world even now, and they are a stain on our stated values of human worth and dignity for everyone.

The killings over the past few weeks have particular resonance for farmworkers. After all, it was Black men, women and children that were the first “farmworkers” who endured the yoke of slavery as they labored on the plantations in the South, producing the food that fed the growth of the entire nation in its infancy until the present. In the famous television documentary “Harvest of Shame”, one farmer was quoted as saying, “We used to buy our slaves, now we rent them.”

As we share our outrage of the recent – and sadly, continued! – killings of Black and Brown people, we are demanding and will work for action and for progressive, positive and systemic change. Once the veil is lifted and we look the ugly beast of racism in the eyes, we can face the enemy and, together, we must work with all our might to vanquish the monster of racism.

In Memoriam of Apopka’s Black Leaders

Geraldean Matthew and Betty Dubose with the Lake Apopka Farmworker Memorial Quilt banner at a demonstration for justice in downtown Orlando

As we remember the Black lives who have been lost to hateful violence and police brutality, we honor our deceased Black farmworker leaders, who can trace their grandparents and great grandparents roots to indentured servitude, share-cropping and back to their ancestors who were enslaved people. For the hardships, discrimination, racism and overall injustice they endured while they were alive, and for the legacy they leave to the generations that follow, we want to remember our own – the African American farmworker leaders in Florida, who fought for justice for their community and for all farmworkers: We say their names, as well. Geraldean Matthew, Betty Dubose, Earma Lee Peterson, Betty Woods, Johnnie Mae Hughley, Johnnie Mae Byers, Louise Seay, Angela Tanner, Willie Mae Williams and all the others who worked in the fields in Florida, but who worked for justice for farmworkers and for a better future. We stand on their shoulders. We will want them to know “we got your back.” And, we will not be silent!

“Labor of Love” Mural Remembers Black Farmworkers

Linda Lee with one of her sketches for the "Labor of Love" mural planning
Linda Lee with one of her sketches for the “Labor of Love” mural planning

People around the world are taking steps to support the lives and rights of black communities in the United States, and FWAF is doing that through our creation of the “Labor of Love” Apopka community mural. Former Lake Apopka farmworker and lifelong Apopka community member Linda Lee is the leading artist for “Labor of Love.” Linda has spent her life fighting for the rights and acknowledgement of black farmworkers, and during this difficult time for the world, it is more important than ever to remember the generations of black leaders and fighters that have paved the way for the Black Lives Matter movement today. The mural is underway, and we cannot wait to memorialize the black farmworkers that spent their lives feeding America. To learn more about the “Labor of Love” mural project, click here to view our information and donation page.

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