For sanctioned countries, such political and economic restrictions can mean life or death for their constituents. Throughout the years, sanctions shrunk policy spaces of these nations and crippled their healthcare systems that made them extremely vulnerable to be infected by the disease. Moreover, these restrictions have also placed their most vulnerable communities on the brink of starvation.
Lockdowns, the go-to institutive action of many governments to contain the coronavirus, have resulted in mass arrests tens of thousands of “violators” across the globe – even surpassing the number of people that have been tested for the disease in some countries. These past weeks have shown that sole reliance on movement restrictions to manage the pandemic is unsustainable and ineffective to contain the virus, especially for the cash-strapped and hungry in the Global South.
Members and networks of the People’s Coalition for Food Sovereignty expressed their solidarity to the volunteers of Sagip Kanayunan, a project of PCFS member Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas that provides relief to agricultural workers in Norzagaray, Bulacan province.
Today, we witness the wickedness and injustice of the Zionist occupation in the face of a global pandemic. With the onset of COVID-19 in West Asia and North Africa region, lives are put at a greater stake in conflict-stricken areas including the Palestinian territories. Proxy wars and occupations have hampered and stunted the capacities of suffering countries to weather such a health crisis.
The neglect of public health, combined with the rural people’s overall destitution due to fundamentally wrong economic and agrarian programs, neoliberal attacks against agriculture, and massive land and resource grabbing, expose the landless and rural poor to extreme peril when pandemics flare up.
As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to wreak havoc on thousands of lives and millions of livelihoods across the world, we call on governments to exert all efforts to ensure the food security of the people, especially those from the most vulnerable sectors. We also urge that initiatives to monitor and test for possible coronavirus infection be made available to those in the rural communities and afford the people timely treatment. We note that while the new coronavirus could infect and impact anyone, it must be emphasized that the effects of the pandemic are far more magnified for the poor, including the rural people. Lastly, we warn against using the current public health crisis to legitimize more state repression of the people’s fundamental rights.