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By Jovanna Garcia Soto
December 22nd, 2014
Geraldo de Matos Barbosa and Maria Elena each had a dream when they joined the Landless Workers Movement (MST) 13 years ago. The couple has been part of the movement in Maranhão, Brazil including six years living in a dusty encampment, enduing six violent evictions before finally securing title to the land.
The process of shifting from an encampment (without buildings, electricity and sometimes even water) to a settlement helped make both their dreams come true. Grasssroots International's support for land rights in Brazil, including with the MST, provides much-needed solidarity and funding for the movement, and for the apsirations of the courageous individuals putting themselves on the front lines of the struggle.
Peasant groups from around the world joined an international agroecology learning exchange in Goiás, Brazil.
10 Photos for International Human Rights Day: A Tribute to International Social Movements for Resource Rights
December 10 is celebrated around the world as International Human Rights Day. On this day, Grassroots International is honored to call special attention to the social movements that are on the frontlines of the struggle for resource rights – the human rights to land and water, as well as food sovereignty and climate justice. We have much to celebrate, with several major successes that social movements have achieved in the struggle for resource rights over recent years. At the same time, over the past year, we have been heartbroken as we’ve lost many people who have been courageously defending resource in each of Grassroots International’s program areas. The photos and stories below are just a small sample of some of these movements and human rights defenders.
Farmers have worked the rugged land in Western Africa for generations, moving seasonally from field to forest for food and livelihood. While life was never easy, the community worked together, in harmony with their surroundings, to provide for themselves and their neighbors.
All that changed when the government planted a virtual “For Lease” sign on the land. China and other buyers grabbed it up, quickly draining the land of nutrients with vast fields of monocrops for export.
This is the plight of many farmers across the Global South. Massive land grabs – combined with the influx of genetically modified seeds under the banner of the “Green Revolution” – come with empty promises of increased agricultural productivity and the end of hunger.
Making the connections between the bombing of Gaza, the ongoing occupation of Palestine, violence faced by black communities in the United States, migrant rights and climate disruption may seem like a tall order. But that is what happened on a recent Learning Call facilitated by Grassroots International co-sponsored by the Climate Justice Alliance, the US Food Sovereignty Alliance and Grassroots Global Justice Alliance. (Grassroots International is a member of and works with these coalitions.)
Listen in by clicking the link here:
In honor of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples I’d like to tell you the story of Dina Julaju Quiche.
Dina is a young, petite woman. Her calm demeanor and smile does not give any impression of her struggles as a single mother trying to raise four children on a 150 square foot piece of land.
By Nnimmo Bassey, Million Belay, and Mariam Mayet
July 30th, 2014
The recent article, GM scaremongering in Africa is disarming the fight against poverty, published in the Guardian’s PovertyMatters Blog on 21 July 2014, is a thinly veiled attack on those of us in Africa and elsewhere who are deeply skeptical of the supposed benefits that genetically modified (GM) crops will bring to the continent. Based on a report by London-based think-tank Chatham House, it represents paternalism of the worst kind, advancing the interests of the biotechnology industry behind a barely constructed façade of philanthropy.
Modern production is based on extraction from the planet, and modern finance is based on extraction from the many for the benefit of the very few. What would a new economy look like and how can we rethink our relationship to resources, work and culture? Those are some of the questions explored in the video, How We Live: A Journey Towards a Just Transition.
Governments and international agencies frequently boast that small farmers control the largest share of the world's agricultural land. When the director general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation inaugurated 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming, he sang the praises of family farmers but didn't once mention the need for land reform. Instead, he announced that family farms already manage most of the world's farmland – a whopping 70%, according to his team.
Olives and olive oil are fundamental to Palestinian history, economy, subsistence, and culture. Olive trees symbolize Palestinian steadfastness and are deeply valued for their ability to thrive and send down deep roots in land where water is hard to come by. Many olive trees are thousands of years old and yet continue to produce olives. A worldwide symbol of peace, olive trees themselves have come under vicious attack by Israeli soldiers and settlers.
This fact sheet highlights the impact of the occupation, settlements and the Separation Wall on olive trees, olive harvests and Palestinian society, including: