Coalition decries intensifying attacks against peasants struggling for land
The Asian Peasant Coalition (APC), an Asia-wide coalition of farmers, landless peasants, fisherfolks, agricultural workers, dalit, indigenous peoples, herders, pastoralists, peasant women and rural youth, across 11 countries in Asia, decried the intensifying attacks against peasants struggling for land.
Peasants asserting their rights to the land are subjected to human rights abuses, agrarian struggles and peasant leaders are being criminalized, imprisoned, and worse, were massacred.
At present, 111 farmers (18 are women and 4 are minors) were killed and we attributed these attacks to the worsening state of land problem in the Philippines, according to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), an APC member based in the Philippines. KMP hit Rodrigo Duterte's regime that allowed the political killings, militarization of communities and implementation of martial law in Mindanao.
“Under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and President Duterte's Oplan Kapayapaan, a counter insurgency program, hundreds were arrested and detained. Tens of thousands suffer human rights violations, especially in Mindanao where Martial Law is declared,” according to Zenaida Soriano, APC Vice-chairperson.
“On January 28, Ricky Olado, a Lumad (an indigenous people) and member of the Tinanaon Kulamanon Lumadnong Panaghiusa (TIKULPA) was shot dead by suspected military agents while riding his motorcycle towards Brgy. Datu Ladayon, Arakan, North Cotabato. The victim was shot several times,” added Soriano, also the national chairperson of the AMIHAN (National Federation of Peasant Women) based in the Philippines.
The Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA), an APC member based in Indonesia, reported that under the Jokowi government, the peasants live under terror and violence. AGRA has recorded at least 49 cases of violence and criminalization that occurred in 18 provinces across the country -- 66 people were shot, 144 were wounded, 854 were arrested, 10 were killed and 120 people were criminalized.
Worse, the Indonesian National Army or Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI) will be deployed to “help” the police against demonstrations, strikes, mass riots and address the social conflicts. This is stated in the agreement signed on January 23 by the Chief of Indonesian Police General Tito Karnavian and TNI Commander Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto at TNI Cilangkap Headquarters. The agreement will be valid for five years. AGRA remarked that this agreement will aggravate the human rights abuses on activists.
“Enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and torture also take place with impunity in Pakistan while critics of the Indian government often face charges of sedition and criminal defamation, and are labeled “anti-national. The Indian government has escalated pressure on social movements critical of its policies, using harassment, intimidation, and restrictions on foreign funding,” remarked P. Chennaiah, APC chairperson based in India.
“Violence against women and girls, including domestic violence, rape, “honor killings,” acid attacks, and human trafficking, are rampant in Pakistan and India. The existing laws in our country still discriminates women and girls and creates major obstacles to seeking redress in cases of violence even if our governments are signatories to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the first international treaty that is suppose to address discrimination against women. However, there have been no significant changes in women’s political, economic, and socio-cultural situation. Discrimination and oppression persist especially on rural women,” added P. Chennaiah also the secretary general of the Andra Pradesh Agricultural Workers Union (APVVU) based in India.
Leaders and members of the peasant movements worldwide are being murdered, arrested and imprisoned. In Capetown, South Africa, at least 341 attacks on farmers have been recorded in 2017, during which at least 70 people have been murdered. To date, 65 were murdered in conflicts over land in Brazil according to the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST). On January 24, two armed men riding a motorcycle shot and killed Márcio “Marcinho” Matos, 33 years old, a peasant leader from MST. Marcinho was murdered in front of his six-year old son outside his home, in the Boa Sorte camp, in the state of Bahia in Brazil.
The death of Ricky Olado and Marcinho adds to the long list of peasant leaders and social activists, many of whom have been killed for their tireless struggle to reclaim and take land for the dispossessed families and the landless.
We condemn the Michel Temer regime and Duterte government, for Marcinho and Ricky Olado's murder and hold them responsible for the escalating attacks against the peasant leaders and activists. These regimes are attacking anti-imperialists in Brazil and the Philippines to protect the interests of US imperialism and the local ruling elites. We demand justice for Ricky Olado from the Philippines and for Marcinho from Brazil and all victims of political killings worldwide.
The escalating attacks against peasant leaders and activists across the globe are systematic and are part of the government’s crackdown on legal organizations who have continued to raise their voices against the anti-people policies of governments.
We call for the unwavering struggle of peasants for genuine agrarian reform and food sovereignty. Let us onward our fight for land, launch more land occupations with agroecolocy and defend our people's rights. Let us fight the intensifying militarization and crackdown against our ranks in order to protect our land and livelihoods. Let us overthrow a fascist and bureaucrat capitalist rule across the globe and build a brighter future for our children. #
P. CHENNAIAH (India)
APC Chairperson and APVVU Secretary General
Email: [email protected]
ZENAIDA SORIANO (Philippines)
APC Vice-chairperson and AMIHAN National Chairperson