No to WTO and Free Trade Agreements

CETA is a bad deal for Romanian peasants and agroecological food producers!

2016-10-18-No-CETA.jpgCluj, 17/10/2016 – Between the 26th and 30th of October, 2016, Eco Ruralis will join together in Cluj-Napoca, Romania with hundreds of farmers, fishers, pastoralists, indigenous peoples, consumers, NGOs, trade unions, environmental, development, research and justice/solidarity/human rights organizations, community-based food movements and others who work on food sovereignty from the entire pan-European area of 42 countries. Our main purpose? The 2nd European Forum on Food Sovereignty – Nyeleni, where we will enhance existing food sovereignty initiatives and strengthen our work at local, national, regional and global levels.

While we struggle to build fair agricultural and food systems in Romania, European and Romanian decision makers seem ready to give up on healthy and local food production for the benefit of multinational corporations and disastrous economic free trade agreements (FTAs).

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After French MP and CETA critic denied entry, NFU asks "Is freedom of speech the victim of free trade?"

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2015-10-15_NFU.pngMedia Release

(Montreal, October 12, 2016) -  On October 11, 2016, French farmer José Bové, who is a Member of the European Parliament and an outspoken critic of the Canada European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), was denied entry into Canada at the Montreal airport. No explanation for his detention has been given. The Council of Canadians had invited Bové to speak about the trade deal's implications for agriculture. At the same event, Jan Slomp, President of the National Farmers Union (NFU) was to share his critique of CETA and call for an alternative approach to trade that would see economic prosperity generated from the grassroots up.

"We are deeply concerned that an elected representative of the European Parliament has been denied access to Canada, and thus denied the opportunity to express his opinion about the flaws in CETA," said Slomp. "A strong democracy allows all information to be shared and all opinions to be heard. What is there in CETA that the authorities need to hide? Is freedom of speech now being sacrificed on the altar of free trade?"

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RIPESS supports International Day Against WTO and Free Trade Agreements

2016-09-20-RIPESS.jpgRIPESS Press Release, 10th September, Montreal

The ‎Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS) supports the International Day Against WTO and Free Trade Agreements as called for by the international peasants movement Via Campesina. RIPESS reaffirms our commitment to opposing on-going global free trade agreements such as, but not limited to, CETA, TTIP, TPP, TISA and RCEP.

We, as a network of practitioners and promoters of social solidarity economy are deeply concerned by the grave impacts that these trade pacts have on the erosion of democracy, human rights, the environment and food‎ sovereignty at both local and global levels.

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Demonstration anti-TTIP/CETA the 20.09: peasant movement calls to mobilize

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-09-16-TTIP-DEMO1.jpgLe MAP, Fugea and ECVC Press Release

Brussels, 15th of  September 2016

The European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC), the Fédération Unie de Groupements d’Eleveurs et d’Agriculteurs (FUGEA) and the Mouvement d’Action Paysanne (MAP) are calling on all citizens to demonstrate against the free-trade agreements TTIP and CETA. The rally starts at 17h00 on Tuesday, September 20th, in the European quarter. The agriculture and food block, lead by the d19-20 alliance, will be the last of the parade. Participants will meet in advance at 16h30 at the corner of Rue de la Loi/Rue du Commerce.

The free-trade agreements would have catastrophic consequences on both sides of the Atlantic, at an environmental level as well as on a social one. The content of both TTIP and CETA is anti-democratic and an unprecedented threat to the fundamental right to food.

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'TTIP Stalls, WTO and FTAs Must Fall' | Press Release: International Day Against WTO and FTAs

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-09-08_Sept_10_PR.pngOn September the 10th, the International Day of Action Against WTO, La Via Campesina, the International Peasant Movement that brings together over 200 million peasants from 164 member organisations in 73 countries, commemorates the death of Lee Kyung Hae and continues to struggle to END WTO.

Last year in Kenya, Nairobi at the 10th WTO ministerial meeting trade negotiations had to be rescued on the last hour to save face as WTO sought to reinvent and seek legitimacy in Africa. WTO members held their first informal meeting of agriculture negotiations post the Nairobi meeting on 8 March this year to discuss the way forward on agriculture talks. We must increasingly mobilise to END WTO and to leave agriculture out of the WTO as they prepare for the 11th ministerial meeting in 2017.

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From the archive: "Second Seattle" in Cancun (2003)


by Peter Rosset

Source: Food First/Our World is not for Sale

September 14, 2003 - 4:30 PM. We just returned from a very moving ceremony for Lee Kyung-hae, the Korean farmer who immolated himself in protest against the WTO last Tuesday. The ceremony was held at Camp Lee, formerly known as Kilometer Zero - the start of the security perimeter, the spot where Lee sacrificed himself, and the place where the Koreans and supporters from around the world have been camping ever since. Today his brother and one of his daughters were present, having just arrived from Korea -- his wife died ten years ago in a car accident. Speaker after speaker had the same message: "The sacrifice of Compañero Lee was not in vain, it gave us the energy to derail the WTO talks in Cancun, and his spirit of struggle will live on in our hearts as we keep fighting for that better world that is possible."

Just a short time later the Via Campesina delegation got calls from inside the convention center announcing the collapse of the official talks. We were told that the Kenyan representative had just stood up during the official press conference at the Convention Center and emphatically declared: "This is over. We have just had a second Seattle," and walked out, followed in short order by the representatives of South Korea and India.

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"Take agriculture out of the WTO", Farmer Lee Kyung Hae | Reproducing his letter from 2003

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-09-05_Sept_10_Pnemonic.pngOn the 10th of September 2003, while protesting outside the WTO ministerial in Cancun, Mexico, farmer Lee sacrificed his life by stabbing himself. That tragic incident exposed  the destructive effects of WTO and its trade liberalisation efforts on the lives of millions of peasants globally.  In memory of Lee and the continuing struggles of peasants in resisting the neo-liberal agenda of WTO, La Via Campesina marks September 10 as the International Day Against WTO and Free Trade Agreements. 

It is a more fitting tribute to let Lee tell his own story, from a statement he distributed in Geneva and later minutes before his death in Cancun:

I am 56 years old, a farmer from South Korea who has strived to solve our problems with the great hope in the ways to organize farmers' unions. But I have mostly failed, as many other farm leaders elsewhere have failed.

Soon after the Uruguay Round Agreement was sealed, we Korean farmers realized that our destinies are no longer in our own hands. We cannot seem to do anything to stop the waves that have destroyed our communities where we have been settled for hundreds of years. To make myself brave, I have tried to find the real reason and the force behind those waves. And I reached the conclusion, here in front of the gates of the WTO. I am crying out my words to you, that have for so long boiled in my body:

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