Press Release – La Via Campesina
(Jakarta, 16 April 2012) Small scale farmers and their allies are celebrating the International Day ofPeasant’s Struggle tomorrow, 17th of April 2012, organising more than 250 actions and manifestations allover the globe.
This event commemorates the massacre of 19 landless farmers demanding access to land and justice in1996 in Brazil . A full list of actions, ranging from university lectures to land occupations is available onthe website www.viacampesina.org
The international farmers movement La Via Campesina is mobilising this year to oppose the currentoffensive by some states and large corporations at international level to grab land from the farmers, women and men, who have been cultivating it for centuries. Small farmers’ demand is simple: they need access toland to grow food for their communities. When land is grabbed by transnational companies, hugemonoculture plantations for export are developed. This only leads to increased hunger, social unrest andenvironmental devastation, including the current climate chaos.
Tomorrow, Farmers organisations and their allies will reclaim land all over Brazil and organise mass mobilisations against landgrabbing in Tete, Mozambique and in front of the Constitutional Court in Jakarta, Indonesia. In Brussels, they will launch a parody of the EU Commission’s website marking the 50th anniversary of the Common Agriculture Policy.
This action day will take place a few days before the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty inWashington DC, April 23-26, 2012. The Via Campesina mobilisations will voice small farmers’ strongopposition to the World Bank initiative of Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI) that is supposed toprevent land grab abuses but in fact legitimizes farmland grabbing by corporate and state investors.
“In the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit, farmers and supporters of the food sovereignty andagroecology movement are now actively opposing the “greening of capitalism” that is now promoted atinternational level. We believe that land, water, seeds and all natural resources should be used by smallfarmers to protect them and feed to world, and not by transnational corporations to make profit”, said HenrySaragih, general coordinator of la Via Campesina.
For interviews and more information
Henry Saragih (in English): +62 811655668 (Indonesia)
Itelvina Masioli (in Spanish): + 55 11 63 59 00 44. (Brazil)
Josie Riffaud (in French) + 33(0) 6 13 10 52 91 (France)
Ibrahim Coulibaly (in French) + +22366761126 (Mali)
 On April 17 1996, in the Amazonian state of Pará, at Eldorado dos Carajás, the state military policemassacred peasants organized in the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST), killing 19 individuals.That day, 1500 women and men organized in the MST occupied and blocked the BR-150 highway in Eldo-ado dos Carajás, with the intention to pressure the state and federal governments for agrarian reform. Atabout 4pm, 155 state military police from two brigades surrounded the MST on the highway, firing tear-gas,live ammunition and machine guns. In addition to the 19 MST killed during the massacre, three more diedlater from injuries, and 69 people were wounded. State authorities, the police, the army and powerful locallandowners were involved in planning and executing of the massacre. Fifteen years later, none of thoseresponsible for the massacre at Eldorado dos Carajás has been imprisoned or punished.