(Jakarta/Oslo, 11 August 2006) Two representatives of the international peasants movement la Via Campesina are taking part in a peace mission to Lebanon organised by the NGO Focus on the Global South and other civil society groups from 12 to 16 August, 2006. The team is made up of 12 representatives from social movements, trade unions, human rights groups and members of parliament from various countries. This mission is responding to calls by Lebanese civil society organisations to come to their country to witness the war.
The mission is calling for an immediate ceasefire. The delegates will convey solidarity to the people of Lebanon and get broad information about the areas affected by the war. The delegates will also meet with civil society networks, political parties and top Lebanese officials.
La Via Campesina will be represented by Kari Kobberoed Brustad and Gérard Durand, respectively from the Norwegian Peasants Union (NBS) and Confédération Paysanne (France). Both of them are farmers (milk producers). They are specifically going to Lebanon to assess the farmer’s situation and to show solidarity to peasants and food producers there. The war has a devastating impact on people’s lives, land, cattle and environment.
La Via Campesina is struggling for food sovereignty around the world. This includes access to land, water, productive resources and adequate public services: something that war is destroying on a long term basis.
Hundreds of innocent civilians have already been killed, farmers have been killed in their fields, thousands have been wounded, and almost a million people have been made homeless in this tragic conflict. This is unacceptable and we hope this peace mission will contribute to put an end to this inhuman situation very soon.
La Via Campesina is an autonomous, pluralistic movement, independent from all political and economic organisations. It represents millions of peasants, landless, rural woman, indigenous people and agricultural workers from all around the world.
For more information about the mission, please contact:
Kari Kobberoed Brustad: +47 90534238 (in English and Norwegian)
Gérard Durand: +33 680723274 (in French)
Paul Nicholson: +34636451566 (in English, Spanish and French)