Main Issues

Brazil: New massacre in Pará-Brazil exposes fragility of the State in solving land conflicts

According to CPT, in 2016 it were registered 61 murders in conflicts, the highest number since the beginning of the monitoring by the entity.

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_Masacre_Par_26-05-17.jpg(25th of May, 2017) Ten squatterers – one woman and nine men – were murdered in the morning of the last Wednesday (24), in the camp Nova Vida, located in the farm Santa Lúcia, city of Pau D’Arco, in Pará (Amazon Region, in Brazil). The massacre started occupying the newscast following the circulation of victims corps images that, according to local media, were taken by policemen to the Rendenção City Hospital morgue and, after that, transferred to the Legal Medical Institute of Marabá and Parauapebas. 

According to informations by the Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT), the workers, who did not have their identity revealed, were dead during the performance of a possession reintegration issued by the Redenção Agrarian Court judge, Erichson Alves, who, in disagreement to the National Agrarian Ombudsman Code, set the action to be accomplished by military and civilian police. In such situations the Justice Court directions orient the action may be taken by the Battalion of Military Police specialized in conflicts resolution.

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One step closer towards a UN Declaration on the rights of peasants

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2017-05-25_PR_Geneva.jpgPress release Geneva, May 22, 2017 

“This process has made our movement stronger than ever. After sixteen years of effort and dedication, throughout the world, our communities’ expectations of this Declaration keep rising, expecting our demands to be recognized in the intergovernmental negotiations."

– Henry Saragih (Via Campesina), in the closing session of the working group 

All last week,  around 70  delegates coming from all continents of La Via Campesina,  fisher-folk, pastoralists, rural workers, indigenous peoples, with other social movements and non-governmental organisations, engaged in discussions with State and UN representatives to negotiate a UN declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.  The recommendations and conclusions presented  by the chair-rapporteur, Mrs. Nardi Suxo, ambassador of Bolivia, at the end of this 4th  Session of discussions in the UN,  emphasized the advance of the negotiations and  the need to finalise the draft in a forthcoming 5th Session of this Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group (OEIWG). 

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The time is ripe for the recognition and protection of peasants' rights

2017-05-23 P Rights Statement.jpegJoint Statement from La Via Campesina and other social movements and civil society organisations for the conclusion of  the 4th OEIWG session on a UN declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas

To the fourth session of the open-ended intergovernmental working group (OEIWG) on a United Nations declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas 

Geneva, Palais des Nations, Room XX 

15-19 May 2017 

We peasants, indigenous peoples, pastoralists, fisher folk and rural workers, including rural women from around the globe, from La Via Campesina, IUF, WFFP, WAMIP, FIMARC, IITC along with CETIM, FIAN International and other organizations, represent all together billions of rural people. We have been constructively engaging this process of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, from the fields of pasture, our workplaces around the world and here in Geneva for many years. We strongly welcome the level of constructive support from cross-regions, from Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe. We especially welcome the warm and effective leadership of the Chair-rapporteur. It is worth taking note that delegates of UN member states have extended their very strong contribution to the process. 

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Exchange of seeds between peasants is at the heart of the collective systems of conservation: La Via Campesina at the UN

2017-05-19 Geeta at UN.jpgOn Thursday, May 18, the last day of interventions at the working group meeting on Rights of Peasants initiative in Geneva, delegates of La Via Campesina intervened during discussion on right to to housing, to social security, to education and cultural rights and traditional knowledge.

While speaking on Right to seeds, Geeta Devarajan representing La Via Campesina’s South Asian movements said: "“A Peasants right towards Plant genetic resources namely seeds, seedlings and all reproductive system of plants is a fundamental right of a Peasant.  A Peasant cannot be distinguished from his plants and crops and further to the seeds of his crops and plants. If a Peasant does not have the right to seeds it amounts to saying that human beings do not have the right to their off-springs.  It is like taking away the reproductive right of a woman to say the least. 

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La Via Campesina emphatically defends Food Sovereignty in Geneva, at the UN

2017-05-19 FS geneva.jpgSince the begging of this week in Geneva, at the Palais Des Nations – the venue for the fourth session of the working group meeting to negotiate on a UN Declaration for the rights of peasants and people working in rural areas – a delegation of La Via Campesina has been repeatedly voicing the concerns and struggles of peasant women and men worldwide.

Ever since Monday, when they checked into the UN on a tractor, representatives of the peasant movements in Asia, Africa, Americas and Europe have been presenting and proposing amendments to the latest draft of the UN Declaration.  

On day three, Wednesday, they offered an emphatic defence of why realization of food sovereignty is a pre-condition for all other rights of people, pre-condition to achieve food security and the urgent need for the UN Declaration to recognize and promote it.

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"When the right to land is in our hands, we see a future which is more just, equal" : La Via Campesina in Geneva

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2017-05-17_Henry_in_geneva.jpegWhile speaking on Day Three of the fourth session of the intergovernmental working group negotiating for a UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, Henry Saragih of Serikat Petani Indonesia and a pivotal figure in the Rights of Peasants Initiatives of La Via Campesina spoke about the right to land and its links to peasants' identity and rural economy. 

Here is a full text of his speech. 

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"We need peasants’ rights now, not any later!" - chorus growing in Geneva

2017-05-17 Ubai.jpegSince Monday, 15 May, a large delegation of La Via Campesina is attending the working group meeting in Geneva, discussing a UN Declaration to defend the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.

On day one, all members of the delegation also took part in a collective action right outside the UN building, echoing an urgent realisation of the UN Declaration. A brief update about the opening day can be found here and a more detailed report here.

Among the delegates who have intervened in the week long negotiations is Al Abudi Ubai Fahmi from UAWC, Palestine. Here is a text of the speech he delivered on 16 May, where he made some general comments on why the UN Declaration is urgent and important. 

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