#RuralWomenRiseUp: Groups to hold simultaneous actions to assert rights to land and resources
PAN AP| 15 October 2015
International Day of Rural Women
PENANG, Malaysia - As the world marks the International Rural Women's Day, simultaneous activities organised by PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP) and rural women's groups from various countries will be held today to highlight the call for rural women to rise up and assert their rights to land and resources.
Established by the United Nations General Assembly, the International Day of Rural Women was first observed on 15 October 2008, recognising "the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty."
Public demonstrations asserting women's rights to land and resources and opposing corporate agriculture and mining will be held by rural women's groups in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. At the same time, women from Bangladesh, Fiji, Ghana, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Senegal will be holding seminars, speak-outs, trainings, public discussions, meetings, radio programmes and cultural festivals on women's important role in food security and agriculture, women's economic rights and women's rights to land and water resources.
Meanwhile, PANAP will honour and salute the leadership of rural women in the struggle for land and resources by launching today the "500 Rural Women, Asserting Rights to Land and Resources", a campaign and collection of rural women's stories and struggles in the form of short features and photos.
The simultaneous activities today are the culmination of the "16 Days of Global Action on Rural Women". In the past 15 days, hundreds of women from 20 countries have initiated coordinated activities under the campaign "No Land, No Life!" to underscore rural women's demands for food sovereignty, land to the landless, genuine agrarian reform, bio-diverse agriculture, reclamation of traditional seeds and knowledge, and women's rights.
The rural women's initiative comes amid recent developments that further threaten women's access to land and resources. With the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal finalised last October 5, for instance, great difficulties and challenges await peasants and other small food producers, including women. A renewed push for trade and investment liberalisation through the TPP, driven by corporate agenda and under US leadership, will further harmfully impact agriculture in the region and profoundly undermine food sovereignty even more. This could massively destroy rural economies, worsen the poverty and intensify the marginalisation of rural folks, and undermine sustainable food production.
Rural women are already deeply marginalised in terms of access to land and resources. The current worsening and intensification of rural poverty and hunger as a result of land and resource grabbing is accompanied by intensifying political repression and violations of human rights, such as the case of Alma Sumlag of CWEARC Philippines, a partner organisation of PANAP. Just four days ago, Alma who is a staunch defender of indigenous peoples' rights, became a victim of disinformation and vilification campaign of the military which endangered her security and life.
These rampant and intensifying attacks on the human rights of civilians, legitimate organisations and human rights defenders fighting against land and resource grabbing are added burden on the backs of rural folks, especially rural women. But rural women, alongside their male counterparts who are also oppressed and marginalised, are fighting back.
PANAP said that the activities today will hopefully further inspire rural women to continue the fight for land and resources and for social and gender equality.
No Land, No Life!
Women, Assert Rights to Land and Resources!
*The 16 Days of Global Action on Rural Women is a global campaign to highlight and support the struggles, leadership and victories of rural women as they continue to assert and reclaim their rights to land and resources. From October 1-16, more than 70 organisations and movements in 22 countries are holding various activities to forward the rural women’s agenda and demands.
PAN Asia Pacific
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