In a letter to the French Ambassador, Michel Miraillet, the National Farmers’ Union of Canada has called on the French government to cease its violations of human rights, in particular the rights of farmers and peasants recognised in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other Rural Workers (UNDROP), including freedom of thought, opinion and expression, freedom of association and the right to participate.
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Dear Michel Miraillet,
The National Farmers Union of Canada/Union Nationale des Fermiers (NFU) expresses deep solidarity with our sister organization in France, Confédération Paysanne and its members who are engaging in nonviolent direct actions with the movement Les Soulèvements de la Terre (Earth Uprisings) to oppose land and water grabbing and the destruction of ecosystems by large agribusiness corporations.
On 21 June, the French government announced a ban on Les Soulèvements de la Terre, accusing activists of carrying out ‘eco-terrorism’ at several recent high-profile demonstrations against extractivism, particularly around the construction of giant retention basins for agricultural irrigation, of which there are at least 300 projects across France. Les Soulèvements de la Terre is pointing out that these mega basins undermine the right to water and only benefit a small minority of big agribusinesses.
In recent days, the union representing industrial farmers and agro-industrial interests, the Fédération nationale des syndicats d’exploitants agricoles (National Federation of Agricultural Holders’ Unions) has also targeted and called for the dissolution of our sister organization Confédération Paysanne.
The NFU denounces these threats and steadfastly supports Confédération Paysanne and their members.
We call on the French government to cease its violations of human rights, and in particular of the rights of farmers and peasants recognised in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other Rural Workers (UNDROP), including the freedom of thought, opinion and expression, freedom of association and the right to participation.
The tens of thousands of young people organizing for a more just distribution of access to land and water are acting based on an acute sense of responsibility in the face of social inequalities and the destruction of ecosystems. These actions are especially important at this time when climate crisis-induced record-breaking temperatures, flooding, massive wildfires, and other extreme weather are intensifying threats to farmer and peasant livelihoods.
On behalf of the farmer members of the National Farmers Union/Union Nationale des Fermiers, we thank you for taking the time to read this letter and we urge you to raise this issue with the French government and encourage them to take a firm stance in support of human rights.