17th April this year marked 26 years since the massacre of Eldorado do Carajás in 1996, a peasant and who stood against the barbarism of imperialism and all of its forms. The year 2022 also marks 30 years since the establishment of the global peasant movement, La Via Campesina which has firmly proved to be an alternative social movement to the peasants and the working class at large against the corporatization of peasants’ life and human dignity at large.
In Southern and Eastern Africa region of La Via Campesina, peasant’s member organizations commemorated this day by organizing numerous events from occupying lands by landless youth communities, issuing statements to organizing virtual and physical formations on agroecological farming methods as a sign of denouncing the continued exploitation and killings of peasants.
On 9th April the Agrarian Reform for Food Sovereignty Campaign (FSC) a member of La Via Campesina in South Africa went in solidarity with its Youth Articulation to occupy the unused land in Wupperthal. Prior to the occupation of the land, FSC tried to engage into discussion several times with the head of the Overseeing Council in Wupperthal, but they did not want to engage.
To mark the 17th April, FSC marched to the identified land, started to work and planted trees to the land and had some confrontation with some of the claimed land owners and members of Overseeing Council. The Youth were determined to occupy this land and the FSC supported them. The action provoked conflict and disruption, but comrades stood in solidarity. The leadership of FSC is positive that this action was a victory as the voices of the Youth were heard. The action triggered a mutual agreement for an engagement between Overseeing Council, FSC Communication Team and Wupperthal Youth to address this matter on 21st April 2022 in Wupperthal.
In other events, ESAFF-Uganda on 17th April, issued a statement to highlight the persecution, criminalization and violence suffered by peasants and farmers worldwide on daily basis due to neoliberal policies. The statement calls on the government of Uganda to work with other members states in the East African Community (EAC) to develop and implement a regional strategy aimed at domesticating the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) which set platforms for voices from rural communities to be heard.
When domesticated, UNDROP will be essential in addressing the economic, social, cultural, and political dimensions of climate change and human rights. Furthermore, ESAFF Uganda highlighted the need to defend agroecology, food sovereignty, and the right to the land as the bedrock of social justice and dignity for human being.
In Mozambique, The União Nacional de Camponeses – UNAC, a member of La Via Campesina Southern and Eastern Africa on marking the 17th April, peasants from Cabo Delgado village carried out a peaceful march to the to mark the International Day of Peasant Struggles. The event went under the slogan “Peace, Bread, Earth: Esperança Dos Camponeses”, the march took place in the district of Namuno, in the province of Cabo Delgado and it included a total of 109 people, among which were villagers’ members from 12 districts, namely: Pemba, Metuge, Mecufi, Beach Mozimboa, Mueda, Ancuabe, representatives of district government and district economic activities services were also invited and attended the event.
On the occasion, Administrator of the District of Namuno, Maria Lazaro, saluted and praised the role of the farmers for their contribution to the national economy towards food sovereignty, emphasizing that it is this class that guarantees availability of nutritious foods for families through agriculture which is the foundation of the country’s economy.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, COPACO PRP, a member of LVCSEAf organized a five (5) days event on agroecology and introduction to the peasant struggles at the Peasant Academy of COPACO-PRP as a way to mark the 17th April of the International Day of Peasants Struggles.
The actions and events in denouncing the criminalization of peasants and peasants’ organizations through different forms be it on agricultural land, forced migration, seeds, market of agricultural produces, financial services and on all matters are ongoing and being organized by member organizations of LVC SEAf to mark the International Day of Peasant Struggles and 30 years of La Via Campesina in the region.
We stand in unity and solidarity with all the peasants around the globe to influence policies that support the rights of peasants and the working class at large. We continue to oppose any programs, policies, and agreements that jeopardizes peasants’ rights. We once again call on the domestication of the UNDROP, a guiding tool of peasants by the states in our region. This will guarantee the rights of peasants, women, youth, farm workers, indigenous communities and also the sustainable use of our natural resources that preserves nature and human dignity.
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