By Carol Schachet
September 13th, 2010
Big business wants to gobble up our resources—grabbing land, privatizing water, patenting seeds and trying to squeeze out anyone who gets in the way of their profits. Fortunately, an alternative exists that places the rights of people and communities ahead of big business. The alternative is resource rights.
Grassroots International produced a short video that explains the challenges and hope surrounding the movement for Resource Rights, starting with the story of our partner, Dona Maria. By sharing it through social networks like Facebook, you can help spread word of this powerful movement to secure land, water and food right for all.
All people have the right to decide what they eat and to ensure that food in their community is healthy and accessible for everyone. This is the basic principle behind food sovereignty. If you want to support domestic food security through the production of healthy food at a fair price, and you believe that family farmers and fishers should have the first right to local and regional markets, then food sovereignty is for you.
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.
The food crisis of 2008 led to a broad agreement in the agricultural development community that the lack of appropriate investment in agriculture had been a key contributing factor to unstable prices and food insecurity. The crisis coincided with an increase in land grabbing in many parts of the world, but especially in Africa. It is in response to these events that the idea of developing some criteria on agricultural investments came up in international policy and governance arenas.
Chavannes Jean-Baptiste of Haiti’s Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPP) muses, “In the old days, Haitian peasants never sold seeds; seeds were for sharing and exchanging.”
Today the old ways have been pushed aside. Seeds have become big business.
This assault on the basic human right to food commercializes and commodifies one of life’s most essential assets. It jeopardizes human health, threatens the global food supply and steals away the livelihoods of small farmers around the world.