La Via Campesina Korean delegation denied entry in Switzerland

Geneva November 28
Last night, November 27th 2009, upon their arrival at the Geneva airport, three delegates of Via Campesina and of the coalition "Korean Progressive alliance" were denied entry onto Swiss territory.

Only two people of the Korean delegation, originally composed of five people (two women and three men: Mr Dosuk Kan president of the KPL (Korean Peasant League), Mrs Kangsil Lee and Mr Jejoon Ju (Korean Progressive alliance), Mrs Eunju Byun KWPA (Korean Women Peasant Alliance) and Mr Byungsu Kim (interpreter)) were able to join the rest of the Via Campesina delegation. We strongly denounce several human rights violations that these people suffered. They were not informed of the reasons for this Federal decision, they were made to completely undress one by one to be fully searched. They were not permitted to call their embassy.

Via Campesina is in Geneva to defend food sovereignty and farmers' rights. It is for this reason that the Federal government is refusing them the right to enter Switzerland.

We demand that agriculture be removed from the WTO (World Trade Organization) negotiations because, as shown once more by this arrest, this organization contributes to the criminalization of farmers' movements. The democratic right to protest in international Geneva has been flouted even though we had been assured that no preventive arrest would occur.

We ask that the Federal authorities immediately rescind this decision to prohibit entry so that our colleagues may join us. They have always been perfectly respectful of the ways of protesting in Switzerland and we have all assurances that our colleagues from the delegation will protest in a determined but non-violent manner.

To explain this situation, Mrs Yoon Geum Soon of the KWPA will be present at the press conference of the OWINFS (Our World Is Not For Sale) network, at 11 am today, at the maison des associations, 15 rue des Savoises

For additional information, please contact:
Valentina Hemmeler Maīga, + 41 79 672 14 07
Solenne Piriou, La Via Campesina, +41 76 752 73 62