(Harare, April 17, 2018) After two decades of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), being advanced in an attempt to recolonize and 22 years after the de Eldorado dos Carajás massacre in Brazil, La Via Campesina denounces the impunity with which these actions are carried out. The global peasant movement issues a call to resist, in an organized way, these treaties that try to take over of our natural resources and local markets, for the benefit of the transnational capital and agribusinesses, with the States playing a mute spectator or an accomplice.
This 17th April, on the occasion of the International Day of Peasant´s Struggle, the member organisations and allies of La Via Campesina are organizing scores of unified and decentralized actions in a global scale, for the right to land and water, against the Free Trade Agreement and against the criminalization of the social struggle saying: Enough FTA, enough impunity!
The FTAs are more than just commerce. These are agreements that enforce structural reforms, which in turn strengthen the transnational corporations (International legally binding instrument on transnational corporations (TNCs), the economic interests of the national elites and the governments. Free Trade Agreements have the global objective to commercialise water, land, seeds and taking over life itself. Bilateral and Regional free trade agreements that are done between two or more governments, even though may remain outside the World Trade Organisation, and are also tools to advance the neo-liberal agenda.
Just as the mistrust of FTAs are growing, so are the acts of resistances and mobilisations. Today, and in the coming weeks, our organizations all around the world are organising several actions to denounce the adverse impact FTAs have had on peasant families and food sovereignty.
The European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) is mobilising in the region and demanding from the European Union to free the peasants from Free Trade Agreements!
Protesting the MERCOSUR, CETA, JEFTA free trade agreements, ECVC states “these treaties are a fatal blow to us, small and medium farmers already in a situation of crisis. These agreements facilitates dumping and the expansion of agroindustry at the expense of peasant communities”.
CLOC, the Latin American Coordination of Via Campesina calls upon the people to resist the impunity of Corporations that carry out human rights violations. It insists on building new alternatives in the territories and demand the implementation of popular agrarian reform that guarantees food sovereignty to the people.
The International Coordination Committee (ICC) of La Via Campesina is also meeting in South Korea in the week, starting April 17. To commemorate the struggle against FTAs, the ICC will also take part in the International Forum on Free Trade and Agriculture in Seoul on April 19.
“Even though World Trade Organisation (WTO) has failed in their multi-lateral agreements, it still functions as the world’s police enforcing the neoliberal Free Trade Agreements. And with the FTAs the corporations and States are carrying out an assault against the peasantry. Institutions such as the WTO, World Bank, International Monetary Fund never work for the peasants and for this reason, as peasants, we think that they should just disappear” says Kim Jeong Yeol from the Korean Women Peasant Association and an ICC member.
La Via Campesina this day also denounces the systematic violations of the peasants fundamental rights that could be alarming, in countries like Brazil, Paraguay, Honduras, Colombia among others thousands of peasants are murdered with total impunity. In Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, The Philippines and Pakistan, thousands of peasants are murdered with total impunity and many violations of peasants’ rights also occur. These incidents tend to aggravate because of the FTAs that are exclusively to the service of the corporations and the capital. This is why in this context we demand a “UN Declaration recognising the Rights of Peasants and Other People working in Rural Areas”.
Free Trade Agreements promote land and water grabbing, destroy local markets and put food sovereignty at risk all together. And the effects are far wider and promote the privatisation of public services as well – like health services, medicine, telecommunications, energy, the water supply provisions, – among others- opening vast areas to foreign investment. In many cases the signatory governments are forced to reform their laws, and carry out irreversible compromises. The protection of the investments forbids agrarian reform, as Governments prioritises investor interests over national democratic decisions. Through such agreements, the Corporations strengthen their power to influence policies and regulations in these signatory countries.
This April 17th join the different mobilizations united to struggle for a systematic change, defending the land, territories and food sovereignty for the people, saying: No to FTAs and global capitalism! No FTA benefits the working class, we must eradicate them not reform them”!
We feed our people and build movement to change world!
The report of VII Conference is now available online here
Nury Martínez – Fensuagro Colombia – La Vía Campesina South America – Spanish: +573107720098
Federico Pacheco – SOC España – La Vía Campesina Europe – French: +34690651046
Kim Jeong-Yeol – Korean Women Peasant Association– La Vía Campesina Asia – English: +821048117996