Defending Human Rights
By Nikhil Aziz
April 18th, 2014
Thirty plus years after Grassroots International was founded, one of the twin crises that led to its founding -- the civil war and refugee crisis in the Horn of Africa -- is back. The context is, of course, different. Eritrea today is an independent state. And what was then an inspiring liberation movement is now a repressive regime. But one significant element now and then is still the same. A massive human-made disaster in the shape of nearly a million refugees (out of a total national population of 4-5 million)!
For too many people and communities around the world, the dominant agricultural model is causing economic hardship, the destruction of biological diversity, and the exploitation of earth’s ecological commons. It is a model based on the commodification of life. We can no longer continue the status quo that enables multi-national corporations to corner our food system and our seed commons. Every element that is foundational to life (food, water, land, air) is under threat of privatization and marketization by an economic order that seeks to profit and own our common wealth.
In honor of the International Day of Peasants' Struggle (April 17), the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance today released A Preliminary Report on Seeds and Seed Practices across the US based on surveys of seed savers and seed advocates from around the United States.
Campesina(o), camponês(a), paysan, peasant…
For more than three decades, Grassroots International has worked in partnership with social movements and community-based organizations to create a just and sustainable world by advancing the human rights to land, water, and food through global grantmaking, building solidarity across organizations and movements, and advocacy in the US.
That work remains more important now than ever, as more and more people squeeze into the global 99 percent, with their rights, lands and resources under attack by elite corporations and institutions. But that is not the end of the story.
While Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories are portrayed as a region where water is scarce and where innovation has enabled Israelis to "turn the desert green," the truth is far more troubling. A new fact sheet from Grassroots International outlines elements of the 60-year water grab by Israel of area water resources, from the Jordon River to the Western Mountain Aquifer.
On Palestinian Land Day (March 30) the world has an opportunity to learn some of the facts of the ongoing land grabs in the region. The Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories not only takes Palestinian land for Israeli use. The settler-only structures and infrastructure also annex land and cut off Palestinians from each other, curtail their ability to move freely, and make it difficult – and often impossible – for students to go to schools, patients to visit hospitals, and farmers to access their land and grow food.
By Jonathan Leaning
March 28th, 2014
Land defenders in Guatemala are celebrating. In a country not known for its respect for human rights and due process of law, indigenous community activists have scored a recent victory whose impact will surely ripple through the nation.
The Tapajos River basin is one of the best preserved regions in Brazil, a mosaic of protected forest reserves and indigenous lands. This river is located in the heart of the Amazon and is the home of the Munduruku’s indigenous people and other riverine communities. It is the only river in the Amazon River basin currently free of dams. And a river revolution is happening there, led by Brazil’s Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), a Grassroots International partner working in solidarity with indigenous people to stop the government’s outrageous plan to build six dams along the Tapajos River.