Land grabbing: La Via Campesina urges States to act

(Rome, May 10th, 2012) This week, the United Nations Committee on World Food Security is convening for a special session to formally adopt the recently concluded Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of National Food Security. These new guidelines could prove to be one small but important step towards reforming the policies at the root cause of the food crisis.

La Via Campesina reminds governments that the guidelines have been built on a foundation of agreed upon human rights principles that cannot be negotiated. It is therefore the responsibility of states to support the implementation of these guidelines and to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of their citizens.

In this regard, La Via Campesina urgently requests all governments to condemn the practise of land grabbing that is currently displacing millions of peasants and small-scale producers around the world. Land grabbing is causing massive violations of human rights, whilst destroying land, society, environment and food sovereignty.

Even in the past few weeks, farmers have been violently evicted from their land in countries such as Mali, Honduras and Spain. Every week bears witness to new cases of evictions and violence against rural communities due to the rising value of agricultural land.

“Now it is urgent for governments to use the guidelines to adopt some compulsory legislation to protect small farmers from this blatant violation of their rights” – said Angel Strapazzon in Rome.

Small-scale producers play a critical role in feeding the world’s population and it is imperative that national policies prioritize their secure access to and control over productive resources. The Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Land, Fisheries and Forests should be used first and foremost as a tool for protecting the tenure rights of small-scale food producer groups.

Today, over 400 million small-scale food producers are suffering from hunger and malnutrition caused by over half a century of ill-conceived land and rural development policies. La Via Campesina, the global movement that brings together millions of peasants, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people and agricultural workers from around the world, calls upon states to reform current land policies that are exacerbating hunger, and opening the door to land grabbing around the world.

Contacts in Rome:

Angel Strapazzon +54 38441551 5850 (cell) (Spanish)

Andrea Ferrante +393480189221 (cell) (French- Italian – English)