Protest in front of the WTO

WTO jeopardises farmers rights

Press Conference

Monday 15 May, 2006 – 10am-11am
Restaurant Ariana, 83, Rue de Monbrillant – 1202 Geneva
While the WTO General Council is discussing the modalities of the Doha Round, farmers are being kicked out of their land by neoliberal policies. The Doha Round is based on the assumption that free trade will contribute to development and alleviate poverty. However, farmers’ experience with trade liberalisation is that of increased marginalisation, poverty, exile and even death.

Protest in front of the WTO

Farmers organisations members of the international movement La Via Campesina are giving testimonies about how they have been affected by the current WTO policies: in Thailand, farmers have fallen into the debt trap; in India, thousands of peasants have committed suicide because of rising costs of production and falling prices; in Korea, farmers are driven to despair due to the import of cheap food; in Europe: one farm disappears every three minutes…

During the WTO ministerial conference in Hong Kong (December 2005), around 900 protestors, mainly farmers of La Via Campesina, were arrested because they were defending their right to live.

Worldwide, farmers movements are being criminalised in their struggle for their rights, for their land and their livelihood. On May 15 in Geneva, the international delegation of La Via Campesina will expose its position on the current WTO negotiation and launch its annual report on peasant’s rights violations (“Violation of peasant’s human rights – A report on Cases and Patterns of Violations 2006”).  

SPEAKERS:

  • Paul Nicholson (European Farmers Co-ordination)
  • Murana (Federation of Indonesian Peasants Union)
  • Valentina Hemmeler (Uniterre) – Switzerland
  • Yudhvir Sing (Bharatiya Kisan Union) – India
  • Silvester Gilberto Lopez (Central Independiente de Obreros Agricolas y Campesinos) – Mexico

For more information: Valentina Hemmeler : +4179 672 14 07, Rudi Berli : + 4178 707 78 83, Paul Nicholson: (+41 77 431 73 69 from sunday 14th evening)

Notes to the press:

  1. Farmers movements and their allies are organising a symbolic protest action in front of the WTO General Council – on Monday 15 May, 2006 – 5pm-7pm.
  2. The annual report by La Via Campesina’s members organisations on violations of peasant’s human rights will be available on line from May 15 : www.viacampesina.org

Geneva, 12 May 2006

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