01st December 2022
This November, as Egypt hosted the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27), La Via Campesina delegates from Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe attended and joined a group of civil society organisations at Sharm el Sheikh. Through events and joint actions, they amplified the voices of peasant and indigenous communities at the frontlines of the climate crises.
During a panel discussion, La Via Campesina’s Javier Andrades – from Organización Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica de Puerto Rico – explained that disaster capitalism, colonialism, and the climate crises had disrupted small-scale farming and fishing food systems. At the same panel, reacting to the false solutions being pushed by delegates defending agribusiness and extractive industry at the COP27, Chengeto Muzira from Zimbabwean Small Holder Organic Farmers Forum, Harare, had this to say;
“We are saying as La Via Campesina and as Zimbabwe Small Holder Organic Farmers Forum, we are saying no to these false solutions that they are imposing on us. They are the ones who created these problems, and they are also coming up with solutions that do not work for us”.
Detailed coverage of La Via Campesina’s events at Sharm el Sheikh is available on the website.
In the wake of disappointing outcomes from COP27, peasant and small-scale food producers’ organisations and civil society in Europe launched a manifesto for agricultural transition to address the systemic climate crisis. This manifesto, jointly prepared by the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC), calls on the European Union (EU) to immediately implement 13 concrete and interdependent action points to move towards climate and food justice.
November Mobilisations to Stop Violence Against Women!
November is also significant in La Via Campesina’s global campaign Stop Violence Against Women! The Global Movement marks 25th November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. In a call for mobilisation issued earlier in the month, La Via Campesina reminded that in addition to the situation of structural violence experienced by women in the world, there are multiple vulnerabilities that they face. The high cost of living, the aftermath of COVID-19, the work of caring for the elderly and children due to lack of social infrastructure, unemployment, forced displacement and migration, racism and discrimination, wars and climate disasters.
During the month, members of the global social movement responded resoundingly to La Via Campesina’s call to mobilise and stand up against all forms of gender-based violence. On a map maintained by La Via Campesina on its global website, LVC reported over 70 solidarity actions worldwide. The events comprised marches, webinars, workshops on peasant feminism, art fairs and more. Such as the one in Nairobi, where the Kenyan Peasant League and students held a public briefing on the Use of Banned Chemical Pesticides in Kenya. The speakers noted that since women provide the majority of labour on the farms, continued use of banned chemical pesticides is a form of violence perpetrated against women by the Corporations producing these pesticides. In Brazil, La Via Campesina members expressed indignation at the murder of Cleijomar Rodrigues Vasques, a 16-year-old LGBTI Indigenous + of the Guaraní Kaiowá ethnic group. Cleijomar’s murder is not accidental. This year there were similar murders of two indigenous youths in the same locality.
Several members of La Via Campesina also issued statements highlighting the need to end gender-based violence. Visit La Via Campesina’s website, Instagram and other social media pages for the latest updates.
Solidarity Actions in Defense of Peasants’ Rights!
During the month, La Via Campesina also issued solidarity statements that alerted to continuing peasant rights violations worldwide. In Thailand, members of the Assembly of the Poor were among the activists who were attacked and arrested for participating in a peaceful protest against the Asia Pacific Economic Corporation (APEC) meeting held in Bangkok this November. The peasants and civil society members were protesting economic policies that, in the name of carbon trading and offsetting, were leading to more land grabs and appropriation of peasant and indigenous territories and commons.
La Via Campesina also drew attention to the worsening migrant crisis in Honduras, Haiti and other areas of the Caribbean region. Dominican authorities, in November, expelled at least 1,800 unaccompanied Haitian migrant children this year, sending them back to their crisis-stricken country.
In its “Honduras Declaration” – emerging from its International Meeting held in Tegucigalpa and published early November – La Via Campesina denounced the ill-treatment of migrants and refugee people. The statement read, “this global exodus of people is the result of a nefarious system that does not care for life in all its expressions. The rains, droughts and floods exacerbate this crisis. Meanwhile, the grabbing of our lands, territories, and commons continues unabated. As a result, we are forced to migrate, leaving our families, being robbed of our right to a dignified life and exposed to abuses as a cheap labour force.”
In the Plurinational State of Bolivia, peasants of the Federación Sindical Única de Campesino came under vicious attack from extremist elements. Violent men had stormed the headquarters of the Federación and attacked women, children and elderly who were present at the time. CLOC Via Campesina – the Latin American Coordination of Rural Organisations – denounced the attack. Our members demanded a thorough investigation and appropriate punishments for all involved.
In other regional and national news, November also witnessed two regional assemblies in La Via Campesina.
The European Coordination Via Campesina – ECVC – held its general assembly in Portugal early this month. The Latin American Coordinaton of Rural Organizations, CLOC-Vía Campesina, also had its continental meeting in the Province of Artemisa, Cuba, on November 29, 30 and 01st December 2022. These spaces are instrumental in preparing the debates and discussions around food sovereignty, and social justice as the global movement readies itself to organise its 8th International Conference in 2023.
La Via Campesina members also held formation sessions on building diversity within the global movement. In Brazil, LVC’s regional members organised a seminar on the rights of LGBTI+. The Seminar was held at the Florestan Fernandes National School (ENFF). Nearly 70 Latin American activists from Brazilian, Mexican, Nicaraguan, Colombian, Peruvian, Paraguayan, and Argentinian social movements participated.
CLOC – Vía Campesina members also held communication workshops as part of the VI Continental School of Communication. Three virtual sessions in this regard witnessed the participation of delegates from local organisations, the International Operational Secretariat of LVC and media allies of the movement.
In Europe, at the ECVC General Assembly, the Gender and Sexual Diversities working group in the region reminded that La Via Campesina must support the concept of family farming as a peasant model of farming, coming from a place of revolutionary love. “We call for the need to broaden the definition of ‘family farming’, re-imagining family farming and including our chosen families, a diversity of people and ways of living and working together.”, the statement read.
During November, ECVC also stepped up their campaign against the European Commission’s efforts to deregulate new GMOs by relaxing the concerned provisions of European patent laws. According to them, the protection of traditional and native seeds is at risk, while deregulation would violate the rights of European small-scale farmers.
In South Asia, on 26th November, the Indian farmers’ organisations marked the second anniversary of their historic protest of 2020-21 with public marches and events across the country. The peasant organisations alleged that the government has yet to honour any of the pledges made a year ago while withdrawing the three controversial laws.
In Canada, the National Farmers’ Union held its convention – Confronting Concentration, in the last week of November. Participants described the threats of corporate concentration in the food and farming sector and shared ways of organising that empower them and their communities and promote food sovereignty. Union Paysanne, also an LVC member in the country, announced their preparations towards the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15), scheduled to take place in Montreal between 7 – 19 December 2022.
Before we wrap up, here are the links to the different publications released in November 2022
(Have we missed an important update? If so, you can email the links to email@example.com, which we will include in the next edition. Only updates from La Via Campesina members will be part of this news wrap. For a thorough update of different initiatives from November 2022, visit our website.)
Did you miss the previous editions of our news wrap? Find it here
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