La Via Campesina calls for a United Nations fact-finding mission to investigate human rights violations in occupied Palestine and for the entire movement and committed allies to join the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid in our beloved occupied Palestine! Apartheid is a crime!
AGAINST ISRAELI APARTHEID: BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS NOW!
(Harare, May 23rd, 2021) La Via Campesina – an international movement that brings together hundreds of millions of peasants, rural workers, migrants, landless, indigenous people, fishermen, youth and rural women, among other fighters for Food Sovereignty and Peasant Rights – has been accompanying the struggle of the Palestinian people since the first years of the illegal Israeli occupation. Committed as we are to social justice and dignity of the peoples, we have come to know Palestinian reality year after year through numerous delegations to the occupied territories and, in 2013, integrated into our movement the Union of Agricultural Workers Committees or UAWC-Palestine. Since then, its rural workers in Ramalah, seed guardians in Hebron and fisherfolk in Gaza, among others, have made important contributions to the peasant internationalism of La Via Campesina – helping to build our Declaration of Peasant Rights (UNDROP) and consolidate our movement throughout the Arab world, to name just two examples.
In delegation after delegation to our beloved Palestine, La Via Campesina has seen with its own eyes the cruel illegality of the Israeli Settler-Colonial State: its massacres in Gaza and the West Bank, its blatant demolition of schools, hospitals and homes, its construction of walls and expansion of colonies, its theft of waters, lands and territories. But we have also accompanied the Palestinian people in their dignified management of their rebel crops – their olive groves planted over 500 years back, their schools and community centers where historical consciousness is formed in Palestinian youth, and their International Conferences organized to achieve true Food Sovereignty for Palestine and all other people who struggle.
“Long live the struggles of our peasants! Long live the struggles of farm workers! We are with you until socioeconomic justice is realized for all peasants, fishermen and agricultural workers. May we succeed in protecting the rights of peasants and rural workers throughout the world, as well as in our respective countries, in the Arab World, and in our beloved Palestine.“
– Final Declaration of the International Conference: Food Sovereignty, Colonies and Borders| (Ramalah, 2019)
In April 2021, Human Rights Watch (HRW) confirmed what the people of the world have been denouncing for years: “The Israeli authorities are committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.” According to the new HRW Report, “The severity of the repression in the occupied territory, including the imposition of a draconian military regime on the Palestinians while Jewish Israelis living in a segregated way in the same territory enjoy all their rights, which Israeli Civil Law respects as rights, amounts to a systematic oppression necessary for the existence of apartheid”.
This May 15th was the 73rd anniversary of the Nakba or “catastrophe” that occurred in 1948 with the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and lands to create the State of Israel. Although the agreement sanctioned by the United Nations was that they would only occupy 55 percent of the Palestinian territory, in violation of international law they occupied most of Palestine through violence and repression. In the context of Nakba 2021, known as “the day of pain” by the Palestinian people, the Criminal State of Israel intensified its occupationist plans and displacement of the Palestinians with a series of violent attacks that have resulted in the vile murder of more than 250 Palestinians – the majority being children, women and seniors. In response, La Via Campesina issued a new Declaration of Solidarity telling the world, once again: Palestinian Rights are Human Rights too!
“Peasants and other people who work in rural areas have the right to life, physical and mental integrity, liberty and security of the person … They may not be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention, torture or other treatment or cruel, inhuman or degrading penalties, nor shall they be subjected to slavery or servitude “
– Article 6: Right to life, liberty and security of person | United Nations Declaration on Peasant Rights (UNDROP, 2018)
“Peasants and other people who work in rural areas have the right to define their own agri-food systems, recognized by many states and regions as the right to food sovereignty. This includes the right to participate in decision-making processes on agri-food policy and the right to a healthy and sufficient food, produced with ecological and sustainable methods that respect their culture “
Article 15: Right to food and food sovereignty | United Nations Declaration on Peasant Rights (UNDROP, 2018)
Solidarity in Action
In response to the recent Israeli onslought, and to prevent these crimes from happening again, La Via Campesina calls on the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) to immediately organize an official UN fact-finding mission to occupied Palestine. While we expect this UN Mission to focus its investigation on the rights violations committed during Israel’s recent attacks on civilians across Palestine, we also believe such a Mission should serve to monitor the ongoing violation of Human Rights in general and, more specifically, the rights of Palestinian peasants and other people working in rural areas as detailed in UNDROP. La Via Campesina, alongside our member organization UAWC-Palestine, stands ready and willing to accompany the effective implementation of such a UN Mission.
In addition to the aforementioned demand, it is worth remembering that a November 2015 delegation of La Via Campesina to Palestine presented a detailed report with multiple recommendations for our movement and entire community of allies. One of these recommendations, perhaps the most important one today, was to formally adhere to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that aims to curb international support for the illegal occupation and criminal repression of the Palestinians by Israel and the compel her to comply with international law. This is how we made the commitment to mobilize our organizations and allies around BDS as a “tool in the fight against the apartheid crime that the State of Israel commits on the Palestinian population.”
In solidarity with the Palestinian people, who are currently suffering the most serious military attacks in recent times, La Via Campesina calls on our 181 member organizations and our entire community of allied organizations and movements, to join firmly and commit to the BDS campaign in order to end Israeli Apartheid and its war crimes.
- First and foremost, join BDS now! The boycott is economic, academic and cultural! Doubts about what to boycott? See HERE.
- We must mobilize so that companies, public and private institutions, including universities, and governments that have commercial and investment relations with Israel end it now;
- In addition, it is necessary to put pressure on governments such as the United States and Canada that continue to sell weapons to Israel that are used against the Palestinian population, mainly women, the elderly and children; military aid from the United States and Canada, and other countries, is also a violation of their internal policies that prohibit
the sale of weapons to commit crimes against humanity and the violation of human rights;
- Likewise, the countries that use Israeli security and control corporations, such as Elbit Systems, which built the wall in the West Bank and designed the paramilitary strategy against the Palestinian population and which has been the same that has participated in the construction of the wall and the design of the military strategy on the border of the United States and Mexico against migrants and border communities, must break any
commercial and investment relationship with the criminal State of Israel;
- Finally, that foreign corporations settled in Palestinian territories, such as Cemex de México that collaborates in the illegal settlements of white extremist settlers that continue to spread through fear and paramilitary attacks against the Palestinians, leave Israel because their operations are stained with the blood of the Palestinian population who continue to resist and fight heroically.
Concrete and genuine solidarity with the Palestinian people cannot wait any longer, it is urgent and must be broad and militant. We urge our La Via Campesina organizations as a whole and all our allies to act together to strengthen the BDS movement to undermine the terrible policy of apartheid that our Palestinian sisters and brothers suffer today.
AGAINST ISRAELI APARTHEID: BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS NOW!
Globalize the Struggle!
LA VIA CAMPESINA