Land Rights

The Story of Manal Abu Shalouf

Here in the office of Grassroots International hang many pictures of our partners from around the world. One we all love features a beautiful Palestinian girl proudly hugging a huge turnip grown in her family’s garden plot. In fact, we so appreciate the picture that we created a greeting card with her image and story, and many recipients have asked: “What happened to her? Where is she today?”

Here’s her story.

General Strike in Brazil: Social Movements Lead the Way Toward Constitutional Rights

Millions of Brazilians are marching today (July 11) in another demonstration of the vitality of national social movements. The demonstrations taking place in different major cities across the country follow last month’s historic marches.            

Building on the political momentum created by the massive mostly youth-led demonstrations, today’s show of force will include both organized labor and social movements, marching side-by-side to demand political reform and expanded constitutional rights. 

Why Movements Matter

Earlier this month, hundreds of small farmers from dozens of countries gathered in Jakarta, Indonesia for the 6th International Congress of the Via Campesina. 

Shame on TIAA-CREF for Muzzling Shareholder Voices!

Once again, TIAA-CREF has denied its shareholders the right to have their voices heard through the ballot box at this year’s shareholder meeting. 

The Mystique of Las Misticas

Ingredients: 183 member organizations. 88 countries. 5 continents. 500 representatives of 200-plus million women and men. Numerous allies from movements of  women, indigenous peoples, fishers, pastoralists, environmental/climate justice activists and more. One global peasant movement. All with fearless commitment to social, economic and gender justice.

Via Campesina Youth View Staying on the Land as Resistance

Our Palestinian partners frequently tell us: “To stay – and, frankly, to exist – is to resist.” I heard this same message during the 3rd International Youth Assembly of La Via Campesina (LVC). In a world where the ability to live a dignified life as a small farmer is increasingly challenging whether in Iowa or Indonesia the act of staying, and in some cases “going back” to the land is an act of resistance and courage.

From Food Security to Food Sovereignty

In the article below, Antonio Roman-Alcalá discusses what food sovereignty is, how it differs from food security and how the food movement is shifting the conversation toward sovereignty. Along with our partner the Via Campesina—which pioneered the concept of food sovereignty in 1996—Grassroots International has been advocating this alternative model around the world. As explained in the recent Nyeleni newsletter

Food sovereignty is different from food security in both approach and politics. Food security does not distinguish where food comes from, or the conditions under which it is produced and distributed. National food security targets are often met by sourcing food produced under environmentally destructive and exploitative conditions, and supported by subsidies and policies that destroy local food producers but benefit agribusiness corporations. Food sovereignty emphasizes ecologically appropriate production, distribution and consumption, social-economic justice and local food systems as ways to tackle hunger and poverty and guarantee sustainable food security for all peoples. It advocates trade and investment that serve the collective aspirations of society. It promotes community control of productive resources; agrarian reform and tenure security for small-scale producers; agro-ecology; biodiversity; local knowledge; the rights of peasants, women, indigenous peoples and workers; social protection and climate justice.

MAB is Nominated for International Human Rights Award

Grassroots International nominated one of their Brazilian partners, the Movement of People Affected by Dams, to receive the annual award of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights. The award honors courageous and innovative individuals for their activism. If selected, this award would not only reinforce MAB’s historic struggle to protect human rights and support those defending communities impacted by massive water projects; it would also provide monetary compensation and international recognition.

In fact, the nomination itself has already provided a boost to MAB’s reputation and a platform from which to raise the voices of those impacted by dams and hydro-electric projects.

After a Two-decade Occupation, MST Families Win Land Rights

Although Grassroots International does not support the Landless Workers Movement (MST) in Bahia state,  through our support to the MST at the national level and also our partner Rede Social (the Network for Social Justice & Human Rights) we are able to have an impact on thousands of landless families in Brazil. Those families and the nearly 300 in Bahia who, after 20 years, recently won their rights to land and a dignified livelihood, needed political support at the national level, lawyers to oversee their cases and defend them, training to document cases of violence and threats against their struggle, support for the movement as a whole. Resources they would not have had without Grassroots. This is solidarity not charity.