The right of peasants to produce food is in danger
Via Campesina is pressuring the United Nations Human Rights Commission at its 59 session of to give more attention to the rights of peasants
Millions of peasants have been evicted away from their farming land. The land was taken away from them using national policies or by the action of armed forces. Moreover, dam constructions are being carried out with the support of the World Bank in Bangladesh, Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, and many other countries. The development of huge plantations for cash crops aimed at exportation and industries, and the rapid increase of other land use forms such as the construction of hotels, golf courses and supermarkets haven taken away the land from the peasant often in the name of national development. A great part of the biodiversity belong to the trade system organized by TNCs through dumping practices, subsidies and trade monopolies. Peasant and indigenous people are disappearing because of the green revolution promoted and practiced the governments from the least developed countries (LDC) and the trans-national corporations.
Today the peasants are losing many local seed they traditionally used and the biodiversity is destroyed by the use of chemical fertilizers and genetic modified organisms, which are developed by TNCs. The peasants in this world receive inappropriate income from their agriculture production. Furthermore they are victims of dumping practices and wrong subsidizes.
As a result from the peasant right violations, today millions of peasants live in hunger and malnutrition. The hunger and malnutrition are not due to a lack of food in the world, but to that fact that governments are hindering peasants to have access to food producing resources and the food resources available are often being occupied by TNC. The peasant’s health and that of their family decreases, as well as their chance to have access to education. The peasants are often not allowed to protect and fight for their lives and they are often face political prosecution and neglect of their political role in the society.
The peasant rights violations will increase with the implementation of the privatization, commercialization and the increase in agricultural trade, which are a result of the existence and the power of the WTO.
Via Campesina demands the Human Right Commission and the governments all over the world the following:
1. The liberalization of the peasants who are arrested for fighting for their rights. We demand to release the ten peasants arrested at Pandeglang, Banten, Indonesia, the 40 indigenous leaders in Chile, to cancel the legal process against Jose Bove and the other French farmers that struggle against GMO, as well as in the situation of other countries in which peasants are detained because of land conflicts such as currently Colombia, Panama and others.
2. Stop the criminalization of the peasant struggle to have access to land in order to fulfill the right to food for their family and the community. 3. Get the WTO, World Bank and the IMF out of the agriculture.
4. Demand the WTO, WB and the IMF to stop all human rights violations resulting from their current projects and programs. Create an international legal mechanism to ensure their accountability to the international human rights standards.
5. Prosecuted the Transnational Cooperation (TNC) that are responsible for the violation of human rights. Create also for private actors such as TNCs an international legal mechanism to ensure their human rights accountability.
6. Insist that all countries that have not yet ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights must do it and that all State Parties implement the covenant in their national and international policies and that they protect the peasants rights.
7. Encourage the Human Right Commission to develop an "International Convention on the Rights of Peasants". This convention is of urgent need for the protection of the rights of peasants.
8. Give peasant organizations ample participation rights in all the processes at the United Nation Human Rights Commission.
Globalize the Struggle Globalize the Hope
Geneva, April 1st, 2003