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Defending Human Rights
By Carol Schachet
November 25th, 2015
At least 35 percent of women and girls globally experience some form of physical or sexual violence, according to the United Nations. On this November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November, Grassroots International joins our global partners in mobilizing to strengthen the struggle and resistance around to systems that exploit women and remove them from their homes, creates wars and militarizes civilian territories. As La Via Campesina rightly states, “It is urgent to build new human relationships that are founded on gender justice and equal rights.”
Grassroots International Condemns Mounting Violence in Israel/Palestine, Calls for End to US Military Aid
Violence in Palestine and Israel continues to intensify, with mounting casualties. Since October 1, 50 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli forces and settlers and 8 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian knife attacks. Additionally an Eritrean Asylum seeker was killed after Israeli soldiers mistook him for a Palestinian.
By Eric Holt-Giménez
October 14th, 2015
On October 14, in Des Moines, Iowa, the Food Sovereignty Prize will be awarded to the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, run by African-American farmers of the southern United States and to OFRANEH - the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña).
The next day, hundreds of distinguished international guests will also gather in Des Moines, Iowa as Sir Fazle Hasan Abed accepts the World Food Prize in the name of BRAC - the world's largest non-governmental rural development agency.
“In the end we succeeded. But it cost us six years in jail, and five of my colleagues were assassinated. However we are still here, working, and pushing forward,” said Alfredo Lopez.
Alfredo, a well-known and respected community leader, is the vice-president of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), a partner of Grassroots International. OFRANEH organizes with indigenous, Afro-descendant Hondurans (known as Garifunas), whose ancestral territory contains some of the most breathtaking and fertile areas along the Atlantic coast of Honduras.
The fate of the Garifuna people of Honduras hangs in the balance as they face a Honduran state that is all too eager to accommodate the neoliberal agenda of U.S. and Canadian investors. The current economic development strategy of the Honduran government, in the aftermath of the 2009 coup against the democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya, has not only benefited the political and economic elite in Honduras, but it has also encouraged the usurpation of some of the territories of indigenous peoples of this Central American nation. The often-violent expropriation of indigenous land threatens the Garifuna’s subsistence.
Scores of people – showing a great diversity of races, ages and backgrounds – packed into the room to look together at the connections between climate justice and Black Lives Matter, and how these movements present themselves in the experiences of Haiti, New Orleans and elsewhere. More people spilled out into the hallway, illustrating how ready people were to hear the powerful words coming from inside: everyone matters and has a role in the struggle for human rights and the survival of the planet.
In this moment when it is vital to assert that Black lives matter, the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance honors Black and Afro-Indigenous farmers, fishermen, and stewards of ancestral lands and water with the 2015 Food Sovereignty Prize.
The two prize winners are the Federation of Southern Cooperatives in the U.S., and the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH). The prizes will be presented in Des Moines on October 14, 2015.
The award honors both groups as a vital part of food chain workers, who together are creating food sovereignty, meaning a world with healthy, ecologically produced food, and democratic control over food systems.
The Women’s Commission of the Via Campesina has a poster of Margarita Murillo. A family farmer and member of the Women’s Commission, Margarita was killed last year after many years of receiving death threats for her leadership in defending land rights.
One year ago today, the 51-day campaign of bombing, tank fire and all-out destruction by the Israeli military on Gaza finally ended. The 51 days of darkness euphemistically dubbed “Operation Protective Edge” were the third and most deadly round in a series of violent assaults on Gaza.
It is truly difficult, perhaps impossible to imagine life in Gaza, then and now, for the 1.8 million people who live there. First of all, there is the trauma.
“This is not about people who were killed, it is about us who were waiting for death every minute,” said Dr. Mona El-Farra to Grassroots International supporter and author Alice Rothschild during her recent visit to Gaza. Dr. El-Farra is the director of the Red Crescent Memorial Hospital that was bombed during the attacks.
A longtime partner of Grassroots International, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) is the first member of LaVia Campesina from the Middle East. UAWC has received several awards for their work advancing sustainable agricultural development, including two last year: the US Food Sovereignty Prize and the United Nation’s Equator Prize.