The groups, which organized the “International Fact-Finding Mission to Defend Land and Life against Hengfu’s Operations in Cambodia,” are asking the intervention of UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food Hilal Elver and Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) director general Jose Graziano de Silva on the land grabbing of more than 13,000hectares by Chinese concessionaire Hengfu Group Sugar Co., Ltd. The mission’s executive summary was submitted to them on Oct. 13, 2018 during the first day of the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) Annual Forum of the United Nations Committee on World Food Security, which will hold its 45th plenary session in Rome, Italy on Oct. 15-19, 2018.
“The verdict in itself is a victory for the farmers, small food producers, and land reform advocates, not only in the Philippines, but all over the world. This is a message that even in the Philippines, the most dangerous country for land reform advocates in Asia, there can be justice,” said Roy Anunciacion PCFS global secretariat head.
“[The conviction] is an island of hope amid rising global impunity and violence against farmers and land activists,” said PCFS global secretariat coordinator Roy Anunciacion. “The Filipino peoples’ unwavering resistance and firm demand for justice brought about this victory,” he added.
“Following [Philippine President Rodrigo] Duterte’s attack to Sister [Patricia Anne] Fox, it is clear that there is a push to penalize solidarity and shun international support to Filipino victims of [extrajudicial killings], human rights violations, displacement and militarization,” said Roy Anunciacion, PCFS global coordinator.
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) and the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS), both based in the Philippines, launched the petition early this year to gather the support of the international community in urging the governments of China and Cambodia to act upon the issue. The petition is endorsed by around 350 organizations from different countries, some of which will also spearhead parallel actions in their respective countries on Aug. 9, 2018.
Alarmingly, land grabbing by landlords and transnational corporations in the rural communities [of the Philippines] is often accompanied by militarization and brutal violations of the human rights. The political killings related to land conflicts in the country continue and worsen with blatant impunity.