Statement of solidarity with UNAC representatives in response to threats and attacks committed by JICA-hired MAJOL consultancy firm representative

Statement of solidarity with UNAC representatives in response to threats and attacks committed by JICA-hired MAJOL consultancy firm representative

Brazil, 25 January 2016

We, representatives of rural movements, civil society organisations, unions, religious organisations, and other Brazilian social movements, members of the international “No! to ProSAVANA” campaign and of the “International Network of those Affected by Vale”, declare our unbridled support and solidarity with the representatives of the National Peasants’ Union (UNAC: União Nacional de Camponeses) in response to the threats and attempted physical attacks they suffered on 11 January 2016. ProSAVANA is a trilateral cooperation programme between Mozambique, Japan and Brazil, which aims to promote agricultural development in Mozambique’s tropical savannah by supporting high-tech, large-scale agriculture aimed at foreign markets. It is our understanding, considering the triangular nature of the initiative and the need for public and democratic debate surrounding programmes of this magnitude and importance, that an offence such as that suffered by the UNAC representatives constitutes a threat to the most basic of democratic principles and an attack committed against all of us who form part of the International Campaign launched in May 2013. It also represents an abuse of power against which we all must fight.

Since 2011, when ProSAVANA was launched, the debates and discussions surrounding the programme have been shown to be undemocratic and lacking transparency, something which the governments involved in the initiative have already admitted. The programme documents, when released to the public, frequently consist of rough generalisations, contradictions and discrepancies that have greatly concerned organised civil society in the three countries in question. Accusations of lack of information, data manipulation, community and civil society intimidation, irregularities in the consultation process as well as regarding the viability of public participation have been recurrent since the programme’s launch. This was widely denounced in the “Open Letter to Urgently Stop and Reflect on the ProSAVANA Programme” (June 2013). A programme of this magnitude, with potential impacts for thousands of peasant farmers in northern Mozambique, must be widely debated and negotiated. It is for this reason that we fiercely denounce the attitude of the MAJOL representative who attended the discussions held on 11 January 2016 on behalf of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

We have been following the debates surrounding ProSAVANA closely over the last few years, as well as the rights violations and irregularities systematically committed by the Brazilian company, Vale. We actively oppose this type of behaviour. As Brazilian citizens, we understand that cooperation between countries must be guided by principles of solidarity and respect for the sovereignty of peoples, in such a way that any authoritarian and violent behaviour should not just be denounced, but eliminated. International cooperation, public by nature, should aim to promote development and social justice, and should never become an instrument to suppress public debate and democratic participation or to promote corporate and investor interests. It is for this reason that we express, by means of this letter, our solidarity with the UNAC representatives and demand that the Brazilian authorities involved in ProSAVANA also issue a statement and take immediate action to prevent any further bullying.
In solidarity, we sign:

Ação Franciscana de Ecologia e Solidariedade (AFES)
Articulação Internacional dos Atingidos pela Vale
Centro de Educação, Pesquisa, Assessoria Sindical e Popular (CEPASP)
Coletivo Margarida Alves de Assessoria Popular
Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT)
Comitê Nacional em Defesa dos Territórios Frente a Mineração
Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores na Agricultura (CONTAG)
Conselho Indigenista Missionário (CIMI)
Coordenação Nacional de Articulação das Comunidades Negras Rurais Quilombolas (CONAQ)
Federação dos Órgãos para Assistência Social e Educacional (FASE)
Federação dos Trabalhadores na Agricultura Familiar (FETRAF)
Instituto de Estudos Socioeconômicos (INESC)
Instituto Políticas Alternativas para o Cone Sul (PACS)
Justiça Global
Metabase Congonhas
Missionários Combonianos do Nordeste
Movimento debate e ação
Movimento de Mulheres Camponesas (MMC)
Movimento dos Pequenos Agricultores (MPA)
Movimento pela Soberania Popular na Mineração (MAM)
Movimento pelas Serras e Águas de Minas (MovSAM)
Núcleo Tramas
Red Regional agua, desarrollo y democracia (REDAD) Piura/
Rede de Mulheres Negra para Soberania e Segurança Alimentar e Nutricional
Rede Justiça nos Trilhos
Via Campesina
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  • 25 Jan 2016

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