Advance our unity for genuine agrarian reform and food sovereignty, says Asian Peasants

NEWS RELEASE
December 20, 2011

The peasant leaders of the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) calls on the Asian peasants to advance their unity for genuine agrarian reform and food sovereignty during the South Asia Regional Peoples’ Convention on Food Sovereignty from December 10-12, 2011 at Kolkata, India.

The statement said that the Peoples’ Convention officially opened on December 10, while we are commemorating the 63rd International Human Rights Day. Shri Biplab Halim, Executive Director of the Institute for Motivating Self-Employment (IMSE) and representing the Indian Federation of Toiling Peasants (IFTOP) gave the welcome address. He said that today, we pay tribute to all human rights defenders while we are here to discuss on our basic human rights – right to land, right to food and right to livelihoods. We hope that in our sharing, we will enable to identify general positions on these issues and to come up with a very basic plan of action.

The inaugural address was given by Shri Moloy Sengupta, Former Chief Justice, Sikkim High Court. Dr. Ujjani Halim, coordinator of the Food Sovereignty Network of South Asia (FSNSA) talked on the objectives of the Peoples Convention.

Danilo Ramos, APC secretary general and the concurrent secretary general of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) or Peasant Movement of the Philippines said, “The Convention discussed global landgrabbing as major key issues confronted by the peasants in relation to food sovereignty situation in South Asia in particular and Asia in general. It also tackled South Asia government policies related to land, right to food, good governance, right to livelihoods and climate change.”

A sharing of country situation from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan regarding food security was very enlightening and key challenges were also identified.

Ramos shared that Asian peasants are facing intensifying landlessness and vast tracts of lands are owned and controlled by the big landlord and agri-business corporation. The landlessness problem is being aggravated by massive landgrabbing, state repression, human rights violations, liberalization of agriculture and the imperialist plunder in agriculture, resources and sovereignty.

“On December 11 at 12:00 noon, more than 3,000 people march from Sealdah Railway Station to Calcutta University Institute Hall representing Food Sovereignty Network of South Asia (FSNSA), Indian Federation of Toiling Peasants (IFTOP), Institute for Motivating Self-Employment (IMSE), All Nepal Peasants Federation (ANPFa), Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) and other peasant leaders and activists coming from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan with participants from Indonesia and the Philippines,” according to Rahmat Ajiguna, APC deputy secretary general and concurrent secretary general of the Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA) or Alliance for Genuine Agrarian Reform.

“Today, Indonesia government, supported by monopoly capitalist, is intensifying landgrabbing in the name of ‘food security and energy vulnerability’. In Papua, East side of Indonesia, this program called MIFE (Merauke Integrated Food Estate) 2 million hectares of land are acquired by taking over indigenous peoples lands. Those foreign capitalist involved in this programs are, Dupont, Daewoo, Monsanto, and the national comprador bourgeois’ are Medco and Bakrie group,” added Rahmat.

“Another example that is happening now in Indonesia, is the landgrabbing in Rumpin, Bogor, West Java. The government together with Indonesian Air Force seized peasant lands in the name of expansion of military facilities. AGRA as militant peasant organizations in Indonesia is leading the struggle to demand genuine agrarian reform as solution to solve food vulnerability and land monopoly,” stressed Rahmat.

“We call on all peasants in Asia to further strengthen our unity and link our struggle with the broad sector of the people for genuine agrarian reform and food sovereignty in the context of peoples sovereignty and genuine development! Let us persevere in our struggle against imperialist plunder and war of aggression!,” ended Ramos.

The statement said that the Food Sovereignty Network South Asia (FSNSA) is a loose network of peoples’ movement, NGOs, CSOs, and CBOs of South Asia and it is presently active in six major South Asian countries namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The FSNSA is actively working in the field of promotion of Food sovereignty and right to food in various South Asian countries. #

Reference: 

DANILO RAMOS
APC Secretary General (Philippines)
Phone number: +632-3793083

RAHMAT AJIGUNA
APC Deputy Secretary General (Indonesia)
Mobile number: +62 81288734944

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