Brussels, October 15, 2015
The European Coordination of Via Campesina (ECVC) expresses its solidarity with the 11 farmers arrested on the 6th October in the Western Pomerania Province and calls for the immediately release of the detained farmers with full pardon.
We condemn this repression of legitimate protest and the tactics of intimidation being employed by the Polish authorities. We call on the Polish government to work with the farmers’ organizations and prioritize access to agricultural land for family farmers over the sale of agricultural land to foreign companies.
As an organization representing 27 farmers’ and agricultural workers’ organizations from 18 European countries we are fully aware of the risks that the sale of public land to foreign corporations holds for farmers livelihoods and national food security. Across Europe, farmers are struggling to maintain access to land in the face of land concentration and land grabs, often facilitated by public bodies. You are not alone in Poland, this is a European struggle and farmers must stand together to defend their rights.
In this context, the European Coordination Via Campesina asks the Polish government to honor the commitments it made in the Voluntary Guidelines on the responsible governance of tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of national food security, adopted by the United Nations Committee on World Security in 2012 and to which is a signatory.
In particular we remind you of point 8.2: Where States own or control land, fisheries and forests, the legitimate tenure rights of individuals and communities, including where applicable those with customary tenure systems, should be recognized, respected and protected And 12.6: States should provide safeguards to protect legitimate tenure rights, human rights, livelihoods, food security and the environment from risks that could arise from large-scale transactions in tenure rights.