Peasants, Rise Up against Land Grabs and Fascism! | Day of the Landless 2022 unity statement

We, the peasant movements, food sovereignty advocates, and supporters of genuine agrarian reform around the world, mark this year’s Day of the Landless enraged by the renewed push of big corporations, the rich governments representing them, and the governments of poor countries subservient to foreign and private capital of their land grabbing and greenwashing schemes in the pretext of climate change mitigation and sustainable food systems.

We have seen how they actively promoted nature-positive production during the UN Food Systems Summit (UN FSS) discussions. We have seen how they tried to insert nature-based solutions in the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).

These machinations aim to hide the corporations’ and rich countries’ accountability in destroying the environment and aggravating the climate crisis. They are also a ploy to concentrate further the world’s farmlands, forests, and other resources in the hands of profit-oriented interests.

In the name of ecosystem conservation, farming and indigenous communities are being driven away from their farmlands and ancestral territories. Corporations finance big conservation groups to enclose forests and expand monoculture farms and tree plantations. Instead of reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their pollutive business operations, corporations use such investments to supposedly offset the climate harm they cause.  

These projects involve a ludicrous size of lands that are the source of livelihood and part of the cultural identity for rural peoples. To illustrate, the oil and energy giants would require a whopping 500 million hectares of farmlands for their net-zero GHG targets even as they continue to pollute the planet.

So-called green energy investments like biofuels are getting a renewed boost with the further legitimization of the global carbon trading market. To meet their climate targets, industrialized nations like the European Union (EU) and the US promote the production of biofuels through mandated use in transport and the provision of fiscal incentives. While investors claim that most biofuel projects utilize unoccupied or marginal lands, empirical research shows otherwise. Many of these lands are inhabited, forested, used for grazing, or used as a communal resource.

Another area of purportedly sustainable land investment is ecotourism, which has been rising as an industry by about 10% a year in the past two decades due to a growing demand for “nature-based tourism.” Ecotourism aims to promote responsible travel to natural areas for environmental conservation, sustain local people’s wellbeing, and increase awareness of ecological issues. However, the industry has been a significant driver of rural people’s displacement to give way to ecotourist enclaves. Profit-motivated conservation projects and ecotourism investments to supposedly protect marine resources also often deprive small fishing communities of their livelihood and even cause their physical displacement.  

The increasing financialization of the global economy and the digitalization of food and agriculture is creating a more encouraging environment for these forms of land grabs in the name of nature to thrive further. Financial firms that manage the scandalous wealth of the world’s wealthiest billionaires are turning to farmland investments as green, sustainable, and socially responsible. Such investments are peddled as carbon offsets for the billionaires’ environmentally harmful businesses and include projects known to have displaced rural communities. Meanwhile, financial players rely on data mined from farms by drones or mobile apps to determine which lands are most profitable or suitable for their so-called green investments.

Additionally, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to deepen the contradictions between the land and resource grabbers — the monopoly capitalists, finance oligarchs, local compradors, landlords, and bureaucrats — and the farmers, farmworkers, fishers, indigenous people, rural women and youth, and other rural sectors. The health crisis that the novel coronavirus created has spawned new levels of global poverty and hunger that primarily impact rural peoples. Aggravating this are the wars and conflicts perpetrated by the competing interests of big global powers. The war in Ukraine that is being driven by the US-Russia rivalry, for instance, is exacerbating the already very dire situation of global hunger and food insecurity. The shockwave generated by the pandemic and the worsening socio-economic conditions of billions worldwide widened structural social inequalities, with the ruling classes increasingly resorting to fascist and dictatorial measures to maintain their power amid massive social unrests.

All this fuels more conflicts and struggles for land and resources worldwide. But with increasing economic and political power at their disposal amid rising fascism and the worsening global crisis, the land and resource grabbers resort to even more repression of rural communities defending their rights. The result is a deteriorating human rights situation for the rural peoples who face extrajudicial killings, arrests, and detention based on trumped-up charges and other forms of persecution.

In the past five years, at least 560 people were killed in relation to land struggles and conflicts worldwide. Almost half of that total (230) were farmers and farmworkers, while 188 were indigenous people and 124 were land activists. State forces were involved in one-third of these killings, while almost two-thirds were unidentified perpetrators, making the demand for accountability even more difficult. Cases involving private goons or security personnel mostly were sanctioned by the state. Meanwhile, there were about 2,357 victims of arrests and detention and 585 victims of threats, harassment, and physical assault.[1]

We strongly condemn these blatant attacks.

We are unfazed by the increasing violence that repressive governments and profit-motivated interests are wreaking upon our movements and communities. We shall continue to rise up against land grabbing and fascist attacks to defend our right to land and life. We commit to invigorate our global campaign to stophuman rights abuses against farmers and other rural peoples, including the political killings, and hold the perpetrators accountable for their atrocious crimes.

We vow to strengthen our solidarity with all the local communities in exposing and fighting land grabs in the guise of mitigating the climate crisis and promoting sustainable food and agricultural production. We shall continue our efforts to build a solid global people’s movement that will resolutely undertake the struggle to establish food systems based on the people’s rights to land and resources and a healthy planet.

Stop land grabs in nature’s name!

Stop the fascist attacks and human rights violations against rural peoples!

Stop killing farmers!

Advance just, equitable, healthy, and sustainable food systems!

Genuine agrarian reform now!

The following organizations endorse this unity statement to mark the Day of the Landless 2022:

Global and regional networks, alliances, and institutions

  1. Asian Peasant Coalition (APC)
  2. People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS)
  3. Coalition of Agricultural Workers International (CAWI)
  4. International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) Commission 6
  5. PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP)
  6. Arab Group for the Protection of Nature (APN)
  7. Arab Network for Food Sovereignty (ANFS)
  8. Asia Development Alliance
  9. Asia Indigenous Peoples Network on Extractive Industries and Energy (AIPNEE)
  10. Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
  11. Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants
  12. GRAIN
  13. IBON International
  14. International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS)
  15. International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) Commission 10
  16. Indigenous Peoples Global Forum for Sustainable Development (IPGFfoSD)
  17. International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL)
  18. Keduzi
  19. Merdeka West Papua Support Network
  20. Mobilized.News
  21. Pacific Disability Forum
  22. Peace for Life
  23. Possible Futures
  24. Reality of Aid – Asia Pacific
  25. Youth for Food Sovereignty (YFS)

National and local organizations

  1. A Growing Culture, United States of America
  2. Agroecology X, Philippines
  3. Aid/Watch, Australia
  4. Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA), Indonesia
  5. All Nepal Peasants’ Federation (Revolutionary Centre), Nepal
  6. Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan, Philippines
  7. Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon, Philippines
  8. Alyansa Tutol sa Importasyon, Philippines
  9. AMIHAN National Federation of Peasant Women, Philippines
  10. Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union (APVVU), India
  11. ASTM, Luxembourg
  12. Bantay Bigas, Philippines
  13. Cambodia’s Independence Civil-Servants Association (CICA), Cambodia
  14. CECOEDECON, India
  15. Center for Women’s Resources, Inc., Philippines
  16. Centre for Sustainable Development and Environment, Iran
  17. CENWOR, Sri Lanka
  18. Climate Justice Alliance, United States of America
  19. Climate Watch Thailand, Thailand
  20. Coalition of Cambodian Farmers Community (CCFC), Cambodia
  21. Coastal Development Partnership , Bangladesh
  22. Concertation Nationale des Organisations Paysannes du Cameroun (CNOP-CAM), Cameroon
  23. Cordillera Peoples Alliance, Philippines
  24. Danggayan Dagiti Mannalon ti Cagayan Valley (Cagayan Valley Peasant Alliance), Philippines
  25. Empower India, India
  26. Farmer Affairs Network, Myanmar
  27. Farmworker Association of Florida, United States of America
  28. Fiji women network, Fiji
  29. Freelance activism, Bangladesh
  30. Frente Campesino Luis Beltrán Prieto Figueroa, Venezuela
  31. Good Food Community, Philippines
  32. Homestead Organics Farm, United States of America
  33. Humabol Bohol, Philippines
  34. Human Unity Movement (HUM) , Pakistan
  35. Institute for National and Democracy Studies (INDIES), Indonesia
  36. Instituto Politecnico Tomas Katari (IPTK), Bolivia
  37. Joint Action for Water, India
  38. Kalipunan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka sa Kabite, Philippines
  39. Kasama TK, Philippines
  40. KASAMMA-KO, South Korea
  41. Katipunan ng mga Lehitimong Magsasaka at Mamamayan sa Lupang Ramos (KASAMA-LR), Philippines
  42. Katribu Youth, Philippines
  43. Kilusang Magbubuik ng Pilipinas (KMP), Philippines
  44. Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bikol, Philippines
  45. KMP Bikol, Philippines
  46. KMP Negros, Philippines
  47. KMP Socsargends, Philippines
  48. Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG) , Philippines
  49. Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform, Sri Lanka
  50. National Agricultural Workers Forum (NAWF), India
  51. National Alliance od Social Security – NASS -India, India
  52. National Campaign for Sustainable Development, Nepal
  53. National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO), Sri Lanka
  54. National Network of Agrarian Reform Advocates – Youth (NNARA-Youth), Philippines
  55. Netherlands Philippines Solidarity Movement (NFS), Netherlands
  56. NISARGA , India
  57. Okani, Cameroon
  58. Organisasyon ng Mag-ooma sa Albay, Philippines
  59. Osan Migrant’s Centet, South Korea
  60. Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT), Pakistan
  61. Pamanggas Panay, Philippines
  62. Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes Inc., Philippines
  63. Ponlok Khmer Organization , Cambodia
  64. Responsable Partenariats Asie & Moyen Orient, Luxembourg
  65. Roots for Equity, Pakistan
  66. Rural Reconstruction and Development Society, India
  67. SAHANIVASA, India
  68. Save San Roque Alliance, Philippines
  69. SERUNI, Indonesia
  70. Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya (SIBAT), Philippines
  71. Society for Rural Education and Development, India
  72. Southern​ Peasants’​ ​Federation​ ​of​ Thailand​, Thailand​
  73. Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (SWAGEN), Uganda
  74. SWI, Nepal
  75. Tanggol Magsasaka, Philippines
  76. TCOE, South Africa
  77. Telengana Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union-TVVU, India
  78. Tenaganita , Malaysia
  79. The Oakland Institute, United States of America
  80. Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), Philippines
  81. US Filipinos for Neri-Elmer (Moco), United States of America
  82. Vikas Adhyayan Kendra, India
  83. Women Solidarity Front, Sri Lanka
  84. Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC), Nigeria
  85. Zambia Social Forum ZAMSOF, Zambia

[1] Based on PAN Asia Pacific’s (PANAP) Land & Rights Watch (LRW) report as of February 2022

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