Saturday, February 12, 2005


Unity Statement (November, 2004)


We, the 119 delegates and guests of the Asian Peasant Coalition First General Assembly, representing 26 peasant organizations and 6 support NGOs from the countries of Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan and comprising the sectors from the farmers, landless peasants, dalits, forests peoples, indigenous peoples, agricultural workers, harders and pasturalist, including the women and youth across these sectors in Asia, produced the food and feed the peoples of the world, yet we remain impoverished that we cannot even eat what we produce.

We are poor because the land, water, seed and natural resources are control by a few landlord and agrochemical transnational corporations (TNCs). The forced "structural adjustment" of our agriculture by the World Bank-International Monetary Fund (WB-IMF) collaboration, and the imposition of globalization policies by the World Trade Organization (WTO) intensify imperialist exploitation and further aggravate impoverishment.

The imperialist camp headed by the United States also utilizes regional trade formations like APEC, NAFTA and CAFTA and bilateral agreement to ensure and perpetuate their dominance over the world’s economy and satisfy their endless thirst for super profits at the expense of exploited peasants, farm workers, fisherfolk and other rural producers across the globe.

Farm workers also suffer from low wages, and discriminated wages between men and women, and substandard and unacceptable living and working conditions, unacceptable even to international labor standards. Many of them are forced to migrate to have a better living. South Asia is still carry the blame of bonded labour. Dalilts being the majority in the labor force in the agriculture they faces social discrimination in addition to economic exploitation. The other important issue in South Asia is the displacement of farm workers and forest workers with the so-called World Bank supported irrigation and forest development activities.

The militant struggle of the peasants, farm workers and fisherfolk is already bearing fruit through many initial victories. Numerous farmers, supported by militant peasant organizations, have been able to resist eviction from their lands, to reduce the land rent or to improve the conditions of the farm workers. Other organized farmers have been able to carry out land occupations through militant assertion of their rights. Militant protest demonstrations have confronted meetings of pro-imperialist organizations like the WTO.

We vow to continue the struggle of the farmers, farm workers, fisherfolk and forest based indigenous peoples’ against all forms of imperialist and feudal oppression and exploitation. Therefore, we commit ourselves to put forward the following:
  • Implement and pursue genuine agrarian reform - "Land to the tiller" should be its basic principle including women’s access and control over land.
  • Expose and oppose the agrochemical and agribusiness transnational monopolies and stop their development and promotion of genetically modified organisms.
  • End all forms of state repression (local to regional repression) against farmers, farmworkers and fisherfolk who pursue their democratic rights through militant struggle. Free all political prisoners. Withdraw all forms of false criminal cases lodged against peasants and peasant leaders. Expose and oppose criminalization of agrarian cases.
  • Stop joint US-national military exercises such as the RP-US joint military exercises (Balikatan or shoulder to shoulder) in the Philippines and Bangladesh which are directed against militant and progressive organizations.
  • Junk the World Trade Organization (WTO) as its Agreement on Agriculture has already wrought havoc on the peasants in Asia.
  • Junk all Free Trade Agreements like AFTA, NAFTA, CAFTA, and APEC.
  • Stop the deceptive programs of the International Monetary Fund-World Bank (e.g. the market-assisted land reform and its mega-infrastructure projects).
  • Cancel all unjust debts of peasants, farm workers and fisherfolk. Stop all usurious practices against peasants.
  • Educate, mobilize, and organize farm workers to analyze their situation and create a unified action against imperialist policies.
  • Expose anti-people NGOs masquerading as pro-farmers and pro-poor and which are serving as agents of imperialism and reaction.
  • Active participation in the protest action and other activities in the forthcoming 6th WTO Ministerial meeting in Hongkong on December 2005.

(Adopted this 28th day of November, 2004 at Dhaka, Bangladesh)

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