Monday, June 19, 2017

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Regional Political Declaration was passed during LVC South Asia Regional Conference



La Via Campesina South Asia:
 Political Declaration
Sri Lanka: 14 June 2017




La Via Campesina South Asian regional conference was held in Nainamadama, SriLanka on 14th June 2017. Member organisations from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Srilanka and Pakistan participated in the conference. MONLAR, our member orgainsation in Sri Lanka hosted this meeting. The meeting mainly focused on important  internal matters of the region such as election of new representatives for the International Coordination Committee from the region. Two new potential members were welcomed and many issues concerning the region were debated and a regional declaration was passed during the meeting. 

The South Asia region of La Via Campesina has had a vast experience of peasant right movements and agitations and with the neo-liberal model of economy coming to picture , the issue of agriculture and Peasant rights have become all the more prominent and needs imminent and immediate attention. The situation is more volatile with the farmer’s suicide soaring on the one hand the adverse policies framed by the government , on the other hand. Under these   circumstances , we the members of the South Asia region of La Via Campesina, having gathered for the regional meet, commit ourselves solemnly on the following issues.

We the peasants organisations from South Asia, women, men and youths , reiterate our rights on land, water and territories; right against all forms of discrimination; rights on seeds and livestock (including dairy and fisheries);  rights to fair price and market; right to fight agribusinesses, trans-national organizations, free trade agreements and WTO; We pledge to save Mother earth from climate change through agroecology and peasant seeds and most importantly reiterate our commitment for achieving food sovereignty. We declare our solidarity to peasants all around the world as we direct our efforts to a fair and equal society. 

We believe that the present threats to the peasant communities are higher than ever. The governments and Trans National Corporations(TNCs) are assuming the role of imperialists. We demand rights to design policies suitable to our needs. Through this declaration, we ask the States to ratify the United Nations declaration on Peasants Rights which La Via Campesina has been fighting to achieve for the last decades. We demand that States fulfil our right to an adequate standard of living for ourselves and our family through the genuine agrarian reforms: including the right to food and adequate nutrition, hunger free.

We consider Food Sovereignty and Agroecology as fundamental to our vision to cooling down the planet. We consider them as the only way of changing the current model imposed by agribusinesses and transnational companies. We reject neoliberal, patriarchal, and capitalist models that run counter to nature’s harmony and its relationship to human beings. We reiterate that peasant and indigenous agriculture is the only way of feeding humanity in a way that is healthy, sustainable, and that safeguards biodiversity and identities. We demand the state support farmers and more towards agroecology through supportive public policies.

We acknowledge the rights of peasant women: equal rights and access to land, protection from all forms of violence, exploitation and discrimination, decision making, equal wages, health care, sexual and reproductive rights. We stress on the need of a collective struggle against patriarchy.

We reiterate our Right to Seed Sovereignty, absolute freedom from GMOs, HYVs, and other green revolution corporate owned farming techniques which are detrimental to our food systems. We emphasise  our ‘right to reject’ by a ‘right to choose and to be protected’. We want no interference with our traditional knowledge on seed preservation, and free exchange of seeds within farming community.

We lay emphasis on the Rights of workers, labourers, also Indigenous Peoples and pastoral communities including their right to self determination, right to autonomy or self government in their local matters, right to not to be forcibly evicted from their lands and territories.

 We commit to work in tandem with the new line of leadership and recognize the role of the youth. It is important that the youth is given opportunity to spearhead the struggle of peasants. We agree to fight for rights of peasant youth.

We express our deep concern regarding the crisis South Asian peasantry and agriculture is facing at this point in time: biggest one being the consolidation of the agrochemical sector.  Farmers debt and suicide are rising continuously in India, climate crisis, migration and GM issues in Bangladesh, migration and rural distress in Nepal, land grabbing and growing fundamentalism in Pakistan, land grabbing and climate change in Sri Lanka are just to name a few problems  which has serious impact on peasants all over South Asia. We continue our struggle against these challenges, resist and fight back all the injustice to defend our rights.

Finally, we welcome our new member organisations; Pakistan Kissan Rabta Committee from Pakistan and Bangladesh Agriculture and Farm Labour Federation from Bangladesh. We will continue our collective struggles against capitalism, neoliberalism and urban driven development model.
  
                                             “Globalize struggle, Globaliize hope”

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