September 10th – International Struggle Day against WTO

Press Release

End WTO! Time for Food Sovereignty Now!
The struggles of peasants, small farmers, indigenous people, landless and agricultural farm workers have shown to the world the strength of the people resistance against the neoliberal policies imposed by the  WTO. The sacrifice of Mr. Lee Kyun Hae in Cancun on September 10th, 2003 during the Ministerial Meeting of WTO became a symbol how “WTO kills Farmers”. Again in December 2005, during the Sixth Ministerial Meeting of the WTO in Hong Kong, thousands of small farmers, peasants, landless, farm workers and indigenous peoples jumped into the water and demonstrated in the streets to show their opposition to neoliberal policies. The peoples' struggle grew bigger when peasants, migrants, trade unions, women, fisher folks, and artists came together to oppose the WTO.

Today, even though the WTO is in a deep crisis, the negotiators continue to ignore people's protests that were heard in Seattle in 1996, Cancun in 2003, Hong Kong in 2005 and in Geneva in 2006. They keep trying to extend the control and the power of transnational companies (TNCs) through trade negotiators.

People resistance has given "spirit" to may developing countries to oppose the excessive demands by developed countries. One of the main people's demand is to be allowed to protect the domestic market against dumping. The US and the EU are pushing for free trade but they are also supporting their agriculture. The farm bill in the US is trying to maintaining the domestic subsidies which will become a big constrain in the negotiation.

Since the beginning of the WTO, agriculture is at the centre of the tensions and conflicts within the institution.

After 12 years of the World Trade Organization, it is clear that the promises of development never materialised. Its policies have instead further impoverished people and lead to the loss of land, access and control of fishing grounds and other natural resources, jobs and livelihoods. The WTO is an instrument of neo-liberal globalization and inherently anti-development. Trade should not be at the expense of our right to food, agriculture, fisheries, public services, natural resources and livelihoods.

Social movements united for Food sovereignty!

La Via Campesina with organisations of fisher folks, women, environmentalist and others movements gathered for the Nyeleni Forum in Mali in February 2007. Together, they declared that Food Sovereignty was the right of people to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. Food sovereignty puts those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations. It defends the interests and inclusion of the next generation. It offers a strategy to resist and dismantle the current corporate trade and food regime, and directions for food, farming, pastoral and fisheries systems determined by local producers. Food sovereignty priorities local and national economies and markets and empowers peasant and family farmer-driven agriculture, artisanal – fishing, pastoralist-led grazing, and food production, distribution and consumption based on environmental, social and economic sustainability. Food sovereignty promotes transparent trade that guarantees just income to all peoples and the rights of consumers to control their food and
nutrition. It ensures that the rights to use and manage our lands, territories, waters, seeds, livestock and biodiversity are in the hands of those of us who produce food. Food sovereignty implies new social relations free of oppression and inequality between men and women, peoples, racial groups, social classes and generations.

Its time for Food Sovereignty Now!

In commemoration of sacrifice of Mr. Lee Kyun Hae in 2003 and the struggle of peasants and small farmers against the WTO, la Via Campesina call all its members and allies :

To continue the struggle to make sure the WTO reach a complete end and to start to implement Food Sovereignty at local, national, regional and national level. To struggle against the other agreements promoting the same policies as the WTO. Neoliberal policies are indeed entering now through other doors, such as Free Trade Agreements and Economic Partnership Agreements. We will continue our struggle against those agreements as we have done in Asia, Latin America, Africa and Europe. We also call all the movements of the world to join the Global Day of Action on the 26th of January (www.wsf2008.net)

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