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December 15th, 2008
The British solidarity organization, the Haiti Support Group, today wrote to Josette Sheeran, the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), requesting information about the type of rice that the organization is distributing in Haiti.
The Haiti Support Group is concerned about the nutritional content of the rice that the WFP is distributing to hundreds of thousands of hungry and starving Haitians. In particular, the organization is seeking reassurance that the WFP is not distributing imported rice that has undergone the usual commercial milling process, thereby considerably reducing the rice's mineral, vitamin, and fibre content.
By Salena Tramel and Saulo Araujo
December 11th, 2008
Sixty years after the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we at Grassroots International recognize that more often than not the reality has failed the vision put forth in that document. Our commitment to defending land, water, and food as the most basic of human rights is reflected throughout the 30-article treaty. Globally, people in all corners of the world currently experience a quadruple crisis that includes food, finance, energy, and the environment. From Latin America to the Middle East, our partners and allies are facing serious threats to their lives and livelihoods. Policies and actions of governments and corporations represent the grave violations of the core principles of the treat
Families in Campeche, Mexico are being pushed to the edge of desperation. Privatization schemes and mega-projects - like the construction of large hydroelectric dams and massive agrofuels plantations - threaten their access to basic food and water resources. Now, simply for opposing the policies that jeopardize their livelihoods, activists face increasing repression and unjust prosecution, often without access to legal resources for their defense. Please lend your voice now to call on Mexican authorities to stop the unjust prosecution and repression of resource rights activists.
By Carol Schachet
November 20th, 2008
A group of civil society organizations, including Grassroots International, will participate in a conference in Geneva, Switzerland, entitled "Confronting the Global Food Challenge: Finding New Approaches to Trade and Investment that Support the Right to Food." The conference-convened by Grassroots' allies the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance and FoodFirst Information & Action Network-will meet November 24-26 to explore the impact of trade and investment on the right to food and to develop new approaches that have human rights at the core.
Rede Social, a Grassroots International partner, and longtime ally the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) released an 80-page report on the expansion of sugar cane plantations for agro-fuels in the Amazon and Central Plateau region of Brazil.
Recently I returned from the Via Campeisna's Vth International Conference in Mozambique, followed by brief visit with social justice organizations in South Africa. Also in Mozambique, as delegate to the Via Campesina Conference, was Grassroots International colleague John Peck of the Family Farm Defenders and the National Family Farm Coalition. John wrote the article below just days after hearing the President of Mozambique, Armando Emilio Guebuza, address the Via Campesina Assembly. In his address, Guebuza unfortunately noted that his government would be supporting the expansion of jatropha plantations for agrofuels production.
On September 28, 2009, Ecuadorians approved a new constitution that includes an article granting nature the right to "exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution." The new constitution recognizes the right of all Ecuadorians to have access to sufficient resources to feed themselves in a sustainable manner with respect to cultural differences between people and communities. A priority is local food production, recognizing implicitly that the right to adequate food represents, among many things, the right of the small food producers, harvesters and fisherpeople to acquire appropriate resources and the right to rely on the laws, measures and programs that assist them in providing food.
More than 500 men and women farmers and leaders from 70 countries will gather in Mozambique from October 16 to 23, 2008 to attend the 5th International Conference of the Via Campesina. Grassroots International is providing support for its partners, including members from Brazil, Haiti, Central America and Mexico, as well as a delegation from Indonesia, to participate in the international event. Two staff members from Grassroots International will also attend part of the conference, which will focus on Food Sovereignty and the current agricultural crisis. The Via Campesina's press release outlines more details of the conference.
The principle of food sovereignty places local control of food production and distribution at its core. Unfortunately, throughout the world industrial farms, corporations and the policies that benefit them take that control away from local farmers and communities. In a recent report , Grassroots International's colleagues at the Oakland Institute describe this situation and its dire consequences in Indonesia where "excessive dependence on global markets, followed by the collapse of traditional agricultural structures, as well as almost non-existent social policies, have manufactured widespread hunger in Indonesia today."
The construction of the Wall by the Israeli government in the West Bank is viewed by many as the third and final wave of expulsion of the Palestinian people, following the forced Palestinian exodus in 1948 in the wake of Israel's independence, and then the 1967 Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Perhaps, more than any other element of the occupation, the Wall illustrates the severity of the Palestinian situation and the urgency for access to resources, including water.