URGENT - Colombian Farmers Protest - Your Help Needed Print
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Wednesday, 30 April 2014 21:22

Colombian small-scale campesino farmers need your help!  They have had a very difficult time recently due to government policies, such as:

  • The signing of Free Trade Agreements with the EU and the US, both of which have heavily subsidised agricultural sectors, meaning that Colombia is being flooded with cheap imports.  It may be hard to believe, but Colombia has now become a coffee importer.
  • Policies to promote large-scale mining projects and hydroelectric dams, meaning that land ownership is being concentrated by foreign multinational companies in what is already one of the most unequal countries in the world.
  • Legislation forcing campesinos to use “certified” genetically modified seeds manufactured by companies such as Monsanto and Syngenta, a threat to food security and sovereignty, and the natural environment, in the second most biodiverse country in the world.

Paro Agrario
Agrarian protest, August 2013.  Photo credit: Utopía la Palabra

Last August, thousands of campesinos took to the roads in a protest that lasted 17 days as part of an “Agrarian Strike”.  During this period, reportedly 19 people were killed, 600 injured and dozens detained and imprisoned throughout the country, following indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks by the military forces, police and riot squads.  This resulted in an agreement being reached between campesinos and the government.

However, the Colombian Government failed to meet its own commitments.  As a result, on Monday 28 April campesinos started protests again.  We are very concerned that there is no repeat of the human rights violations that took place during the Agrarian strike last year.  We would therefore like to ask you, AS A MATTER OF URGENCY, to write to your MP, asking him or her to sign Early Day Motion 1300 (you can read the text here: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/1300).  By signing this Early Day Motion, your MP will increase visibility of this issue.  If you do not know who your MP is, or need contact details, it is easy to find out, just follow this link: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk.  We would be very grateful if you can take 5 minutes of your time to do this.  We have provided a template letter at the bottom of this email, but it’s more effective if you write your own message.

For more info, you can read the following article published in The Guardian entitled “Colombia deploys military might to crush farmers' strike before election”.  Please see: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/29/colombia-military-farmers-strike-election

Kind regards,

Colombia Solidarity Campaign

PLEASE CIRCULATE THIS INFORMATION TO YOUR CONTACTS


[Your address]

Dear [Your MPs name goes here],

For the second time in a year, Colombian campesino farmers are protesting to protect their livelihoods.  They have had a very difficult time recently due to government policies, such as:

  • The signing of Free Trade Agreements with the EU and the US, both of which have heavily subsidised agricultural sectors, meaning that Colombia is being flooded with cheap imports.  It may be hard to believe, but Colombia has now become a coffee importer.
  • Policies to promote large-scale mining projects and hydroelectric dams, meaning that land ownership is being concentrated by foreign multinational companies in what is already one of the most unequal countries in the world.
  • Legislation forcing campesinos to use “certified” genetically modified seeds manufactured by companies such as Monsanto and Syngenta, a threat to food security and sovereignty, and the natural environment, in the second most biodiverse country in the world.

Last August, thousands of campesinos took to the roads in a protest that lasted 17 days as part of an “Agrarian Strike”.  During this period, reportedly 19 people were killed, 600 injured and dozens detained and imprisoned throughout the country, following indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks by the armed forces, police and riot squads.

Since Monday 28 April campesinos have started protests again.  I am very concerned that there should be no repeat of the human rights violations that took place during the Agrarian strike last year.  I would therefore like to ask you, AS A MATTER OF URGENCY, to sign Early Day Motion 1300, to increase visibility of this important issue.  I consider that it is of vital importance that the UK reviews its trade policies towards Colombia, given Colombia’s ongoing lack of respect towards the human rights of its citizens.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name goes here]