National | Media Release

NFU Denounces Neoliberalism, Rising Violence and Militarism

#April17th International Day of Peasant Struggles
Every April 17th, the International Day of Peasant Struggles, the NFU commemorates the lives and struggles of 19 Brazilian members of the Landless Workers Movement who were assassinated for defending their right to land. This year we join with our allies to denounce the violence intrinsic to the global neoliberal economic model. 

We denounce the Israeli government’s genocide of the Palestinian people, in particular, its use of food as a weapon of war, which has been a strategy used for decades to repress Palestinian Sovereignty. The Israeli government’s blockade of food and other life necessities is bringing Palestinians to the verge of starvation while Palestinian peasant farmers, fisherfolk and seed stewards struggle to produce food for their communities.

We again call upon on the Canadian government to do everything in its power to stop the genocide and end the blockade of humanitarian aid and access to basic necessities in Gaza. We ask Canada to use all diplomatic means at its disposal to support the negotiation of a just and lasting peace in the region. Lasting peace requires that Israel meets its commitments under the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian and human rights laws
Around the world, we witness rising militarism and increasing repression of rural, peasant and Indigenous communities that resist the destruction of their lands and livelihoods caused by neoliberal economic projects. This has had profound consequences, particularly for rural women, children and youth. Militarization, violence and occupation restricts access to resources, increases sexual violence, displaces communities, and ultimately results in family breakdown and social disintegration.

The expansion of agro-industrialism and extractive industries, as well as false solutions to climate change like soil carbon offsetting and agrofuels has harmed rural communities by denying them access to their lands and degrading their territories. 

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other Peoples Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) can provide protection against some of the human rights violations caused by extractive industries, such as the right to access land, water, and the means of production, the right to seed sovereignty, and the right to work in safe and healthy working conditions. 

We again urge the Canadian government to implement all provisions of the UNDROP, to put them into action with effective legislation within Canada, and to respect and uphold the rights contained within UNDROP in our relations with other countries. Human rights must always take priority over commercial considerations. 
As a member of La Via Campesina, the worldwide movement of farmers, peasants, farm workers, Indigenous peoples, fisherfolk and other rural workers, we continue to act in solidarity  by working for justice and opposing all forms of violence against us and our kin. By farming and working for peace, we are building the foundation of food sovereignty.