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FORWARDED (World): Stop Land Grabbing immediately!

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) wishes to forward an appeal from Food First Information and Action Network (FIAN) International and La Via Campesina Emergency Network. Do not support the principles of "responsible" agribusiness investment promoted by the World Bank

Forwarded Hunger Alert: AHRC- FHA-002-2010

13 April 2010
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WORLD: Stop Land Grabbing immediately!

ISSUES: Right to food; food sovereignty; agriculture; right to land
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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) wishes to forward an appeal from Food First Information and Action Network (FIAN) International and La Via Campesina Emergency Network.

Do not support the principles of "responsible" agribusiness investment promoted by the World Bank

Land grabbing denies land for local communities, destroys livelihoods, reduces the political space for peasant oriented agricultural policies and distorts markets towards increasingly concentrated agribusiness interests and global trade, rather than sustainable peasant agriculture for local and national markets and for future generations. It will also accelerate eco-system destruction and the climate crisis.

Therefore, land grabbing violates human rights. Nevertheless The World Bank, through creating voluntary principles on responsible agricultural investment tries to avoid the necessary prohibition of land grabbing by creating the illusion that these principles would prevent the disastrous consequences mentioned.

Please send letters to your government requesting it to immediately stop any support to land grabbing and to the World Banks principles. Ask your government to promote the implementation of the final declaration of the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ICARRD) and the recommendations made by the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) instead.

ACTION REQUESTED:
Please insert your sender address to the model letter attached and send it by e-mail, fax or mail to your country´s Prime Minister/President and World Bank Governor (usually the Finance Minister). A list with country WB governors can be found here:
http://siteresources.worldbank.org/BODINT/Resources/278027-1215526322295/BankGovernors.pdf
The Action is available online at
http://www.fian.org/cases/letter-campaigns/stop-land-grabbing-immediately
For the Spanish version, please see
http://www.fian.org/casos/acciones-urgentes/stop-land-grabbing-immediately
For the French version, please see
http://www.fian.org/news/nouvelle-action-urgente-il-faut-mettre-immediatement-fin-aux-accaparements-de-terres-a-grande-echelle/pdf

SAMPLE LETTER:

WORLD: Stop Land Grabbing immediately!

Dear_______,

The FAO estimates that in the last three years 20 million hectares have been acquired by foreign interests in Africa only. A global process is underway whereby powerful foreign private and public investors conclude agreements with states for taking possession of and/or controlling large surfaces of land (many involving more than 10,000 hectares and several more than 500,000 hectares), which are relevant for current and/or future food security of the host country.

These large-scale land acquisition deals, most commonly known as land grabbing, will have a severe impact on the enjoyment of human rights of the local population, particularly on their right to adequate food. Land grabbing – even where there are no related forced evictions - denies land for local communities, destroys livelihoods, reduces the political space for peasant oriented agricultural policies and distorts markets towards increasingly concentrated agribusiness interests and global trade, rather than sustainable peasant agriculture for local and national markets and for future generations. Since foreign land acquisition is profit-oriented and largely for exports, it will foster the introduction/deepening of an industrial agricultural mode of production in the host countries. This mode of production will accelerate eco-system destruction and the climate crisis. Promoting or permitting land grabbing, therefore, violates the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It also undermines the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In response to the new wave of land grabbing, the World Bank has recently finished a study on large-scale land acquisition for agriculture in 20 countries and at the same time is promoting, in collaboration with FAO, IFAD and UNCTAD, a set of principles to guide its own operations and the responses from governments and other actors to large-scale land acquisition. Given the low levels of investment in agriculture, particularly in Africa, they argue that any investment—public or private—in lower income countries and rural areas is desirable in principle and that adherence to certain standards can make these deals a “win-win” opportunity for local people.

These principles will not accomplish their ostensible objectives. They are rather trying to legitimize land grabbing. Facilitating the long-term foreign takeover of rural people's farmlands is completely unacceptable no matter which guidelines are followed. The WB's principles, which would be entirely voluntary, aim to distract from the fact that what is needed is radically new and effective regulation of investment in response to the global financial, food and climate crises.

What needs to be done is well-known: Broaden the economic base to produce food of peasants, landless
groups and indigenous communities by facilitating a secure access to sufficient
land and water ressources as well as to fair credits and markets. Substantially invest in agro-ecological peasant farming, combining modern and traditional knowledge on sustainable agricultural systems. The input needed to improve the modes of production yields, however, needs a very different type of investment: Less in terms of capital-intensive inputs, and more in terms of knowledge, skills. What is needed is capacity-building and training to introduce resource conserving and production enhancing technologies under the control of local communities.

As a person internationally committed to the implementation of of human rights, I would like to ask you to urgently:

- Take the measures within your sphere of competence and influence to immediately stop land grabbing;
- Deny the WB principles on responsible agroenterprise investment and support;
- Take the measures within your sphere of competence and influence to implement the recommendations of the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ICARRD) and the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD).

Please keep me informed about the measures you take in this regard.

Yours sincerely,

Thank you.

FIAN is an international human rights organization that has been advocating the realization of the right to food for more than 20 years. FIAN consists of national sections and individual members in over 50 countries around the world. www.fian.org
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Hunger Alert Programme (foodjustice@ahrc.asia)
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

Posted on 2010-04-14
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