La Via Campesina and ECVC express their dismay at the authoritarian drift in France

Bagnolet | 28 June 2023: Instead of finding real answers to the environmental, social and democratic crises, the French government is choosing to imprison activists and ban movements critical of the extractivist agro-industrial model.

On 21 June, the French government announced the dissolution of the movement Les Soulèvements de la Terre, which campaigns against land and water grabbing and the destruction of ecosystems. That same week, dozens of activists were arrested by the anti-terrorist police, on the pretext that they had taken part in demonstrations against mega-basins, extractivist industries or agro-industry and its pollution. On June 28th, two peasant trade unionists from the Confédération Paysanne, Nicolas Girod and Benoît Jaunet, along with Julien LeGuet, spokesperson for the collective Bassines non merci, were arrested by the police for their involvement in organizing these collective gatherings as representatives of their respective organizations. They were released later in the day but received court summonses for the month of September. Such acts of repression against legitimate protests are unacceptable and unjust, creating a negative precedent and seeking to intimidate all defenders of fundamental rights. In this context it seems that the FNSEA, a French farmers’ union, has also been calling for the dissolution of La Confédération Paysanne.

We, La Via Campesina and European Coordination Via Campesina, stand together with our member organisation in France, La Confédération Paysanne. We firmly reject these threats and will act decisively in Europe and around the world to ensure that La Confédération Paysanne and its members can continue to defend peasant agriculture and its workers.

We express our support for Les Soulèvements de la Terre (the Uprisings of the Earth ). These tens of thousands of young people mobilising to ensure land and water are shared fairly, which is an expression of the acute sense of responsibility that young people have in the face of social inequalities and the destruction of ecosystems.

We call on the French Government to cease its violations of human rights, and in particular of the rights recognised in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other Rural Workers (UNDROP), such as freedom of thought, opinion and expression, freedom of association and the right to participation.

We call on our member organisations and allied organisations to mobilise in support of the
Confédération Paysanne and social movements in France, in particular by sending letters to French embassies and the French government and by organising rallies in front of French embassies.

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