Repression against José Bové is symptomatic of the increased intolerance against all movements struggling against neo-liberal policies
The Vía Campesina is very disturbed that José Bové was jailed on the 19th of June. José Bové is one of the spokespersons of our movement and the fact that he was imprisoned must be seen as an attempt to discredit and repress Via Campesina and the other movements that are fighting neo-liberal policies. In France José Bové, together with other militants engaged in a symbolic action to protest the neo-liberal policies made visible through the growing presence of Macdonald’s, one of the economic actors of the global, industrial food system. Despite the symbolic nature of the protest which caused little material damage José was sentenced to three months in jail. Meanwhile, representatives of farmers’ organizations not opposed to neo-liberal policies, such as the the FNSEA (member of COPA and IFAP), have engaged in acts causing 1,5 million dollars of damage with the destruction of a meat storehouse in October 2001 in Fougères. Yet, the government pays all and the perpetrators are not sued. This leads us to believe that José Bové is being persecuted primarily because of his political convictions and the role he plays in the our movement.
Our movements are committed to non-violent mobilization and direct actions in efforts to explain, defend and obtain the fulfillment of our right, the right to have a dignified life, the right to use our resources in a sustainable way. For exercising our rights as responsibly citizens members or our organizations are criminalized, repressed and harassed, put in jail or even murdered. At the same time those who are imposing their never ending violence upon our people through (para) military action, dumping policies, land-evictions, sales of dangerous pesticides and sterile seeds etc. that produce repression, poverty, starvation, the displacement of millions of people and the disruption of our food production systems, remain protected and their crimes unpunished.
During the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg, the Via Campesina and other movements will demonstrate that no "sustainability" is possible as long as millions of people are displaced and marginalized. Through our persistent actions we aim to address the urgent problems our societies are facing and to contribute to the necessary changes.
Via Campesina demands that José Bové and all other farmers, men and women that are in jail because of defending legitimate rights are released.
For more information: Jean Marc Desfilhes firstname.lastname@example.org
Cases of repression against farm leaders (situation 17-7-2002)
Many farm leaders and members of farm organizations are suffering repression or are serving time in prison. Others have been assassinated only because they defended their economic and social, legitimate rights. Via Campesina demands the immediate release of farmers that are in prison and a stop to repression of farm leaders. Instead, we insist that the true authors of crimes against rural people and farming families be punished.
We demand especially the immediate release of the following people: In the Philippines: Manolito Matricio (former member of KMP national council) Ruben Balaguer, Gelito Bautista, Eduardo Hermoso, Mario Tobias and Joshua Ungsod. In Pakistan: Michael Masih, Daud Masih, Faqir Masih, Rashid Masih, Mohammad Sharif (chak 10-4/L, Okara), Mohammad Amir, chak 81/82, Khanewal, Mohammad Faqir, chak 87/10R, Khanewal, Mohammad Rashid, Renala State, Okara. In Indonesia: Rais bin Amsar, Yusup bin Marsa, Asgari bin Arwa, Sarhadi bin Wari, Samsyuri bin Usma, Usri bin Karsi, Jamali, Warta bin Alias, Ahmad Nurjali (all members of Banten Peasant Union – an organization member of FSPI). They are all in prison in the Cibaliung village, Cibaliung sub-district, Pandeglang Regency, Banten Province, In France: José Bové In Thailand: 15 members of the Northern Federation of Peasants, in the Lampoon Province.
Following people are threatened In Bangladesh: Laskar Mohammad Khalilur Rahman and Dactar Md. Kabir (Bangladesh Krishok Federation) have to go to court and are threatened with emprisonement. Rahima Begum and Sipra Rani (two women leaders of Bangladesh Kishani Sabha) are harassed by the police every day. There was an attempt to kill Badrul Alam, general secretary of Bangladesh Krishok Federation.
The following people have been sentenced to serve time in jail. We demand that the charges and sentences be removed: In France: René Riesel, Bernard Moser, Christian Brousse (all of Confédération Paysanne). Also condemned Eric Leblanc (ATTAC) and Jean Beaufort (teacher).
Following people are released from jail but are still under threat of being sentenced: En Bolivia: Silvia Lazarte (Lider nacional de la organizacion Bartolina Sisa), Margarita Terán, Seider Emilio V.CH, Eugenio Abendano H., Lidio Julián Gomez, Ambrocio Amador.
We expect the authors of following crimes committed to be punished: In Brazil: The trial of the massacre of Carajas (17-4-1996) has still not taken place. We request that the case will be dealt with at the Federal Court to assure that the authors of this crime are punished. En Colombia: The Massacre of 38 farmers of the Hacienda Bellacruz (1996). On the 25th of April will be the trial where some of the authors will be judged. We demand the extradition to Colombia of the landowner and ex-ambassador of Colombia towards the European Union CARLOS A. MARULANDA, at the moment detained in Madrid, who is responsible for this case. The Massacre of Santo Domingo in the department of Arauca on the 13th of December 1998 by the Colombian airforces. This bombing caused the death of 19 persons, among them 7 children. We demand investigation and punishment of the intellectual and material authors of the massacres, murders and forced disappearances of peasants and indigenous people. Para-military groups committed 171 massacres between June 2000-junio 2001.
Tegucigalpa, july 19, 2002