La Via Campesina Africa joins global voices denouncing assassinations and persecution of social activists

(Morogoro, 13 November, 2020): Member organizations of LVC in Africa denounce in the strongest possible terms the continued increase of violence against communities and their defenders, the great and courageous peasant and community leaders who have historically taken a stand to protect Human and Nature rights in their territories.

We observe with great pain the blatant abuse of power, violence and impunity perpetrated against Humans and Nature in all corners of the world even as we reel with the impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic and the new reality imposed.

In this critical moment of this planet’s history, we see the accentuation of mass struggles to defend land, water and territory being faced with an increasingly hostile social environment which to conduct their struggles. Social tensions have been coming to a peak, with armed conflicts and social altercations staged in the name of profit and violence for violence’s sake.   

As we mourn the tragic loss of our defenders, we extend our condolences to our sister Fikile Ntshangase. She was a leader who had resolved to stand with her community and say NO to the expansion of the Tendele coal mine in Somkhele, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. She was brutally assassinated in her home, in front of her young grandson. her life was not in vain. And neither have all the countless lives of the silent heroes that defend territories, feed the people, and heal the world.

“I cannot sell out my people. And if need be, I will die for my people.” – Fikile Ntshangase

It is with great outrage, we denounce that many members of our organisations in La Via Campesina in Colombia are on the list of assassinations, and several others have been threatened by paramilitary groups that deploy terror strategies to silence historical demands.

We join the global peasant voice of LVC in denouncing the direct threats against our comrade Nury Martínez and her family. She is the president of FENSUAGRO and a member of the International Coordinating Committee of LVC. We also denounce threats against Demetrio Guerrero, member of the organisation FENACOA.

To date, close to 251 social leaders and human rights defenders have been assassinated, including ten family members and 52 signatories of the Colombia Peace Accord. Drastic action is required to protect human rights defenders and the international community must intervene to ensure the necessary monitoring, follow-up and support to stop this massacre.

As guarantor to the point 1 of the Peace Agreement, related to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform, and owing to our moral responsibility to the peasantry, indigenous peoples, women and organised society, La Via Campesina calls for a Permanent Campaign of Solidarity to remain alert in the face of this situation of systematic violence. We also denounce the State of Colombia for undermining this historic Agreement that could transform the lives of millions of Colombians, with justice, memory and democracy.

We urge our African States to fully integrate the UN Peasant Rights declaration into and relevant sub-national, national and regional public processes pertaining to peasant and indigenous life and territory. Furthermore, as proud signatories of the UNDROP, we encourage our States to inspire concrete action in Colombia to END THE VIOLENCE, and restore the path to peace and reconciliation.

We are social defenders, peasants, women, indigenous peoples and organised, we are not criminals!

WE WANT PEACE!

Its Time To Transform.

WE FEED THE PEOPLE AND BUILD THE MOVEMENT TO CHANGE THE WORLD!

GLOBALIZE THE STRUGGLE! GLOBALIZE HOPE!

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