18 July 2017: The Vth International Women’s Assembly of La Via Campesina began yesterday and include approximately 150 women peasants from all continents – representing peasant movements from 79 countries. Having met four years ago in Jakarta, Indonesia, the women are now gathering for two days in Basque country to develop collective strategies and activities, and to share experiences under the motto: “We build a movement to change the world, with feminism and food sovereignty. ”
In the mística that opened this extraordinary Assembly, peasant women from all over the world recognised what unites them, including a strong commitment to food sovereignty and feminism. They struggle against patriarchy, for healthy food, for the protection of the environment, for world peace and for eradicating all forms of violence against women.
The Assembly celebrated the fact that today, women play an equally important role as men in the leadership of La Vía Campesina, which was emphasised in a speech that narrated how the role of women in La Vía Campesina evolved over the last 20 years.
The various alliances that exist with other movements and entities that support the struggles of the peasantry were also cause for rejoicing. These include the World March of Women, Friends of the Earth International, the World Forum of Fisher Peoples and the ETC Group, delegates of which are attending the two-day event.
It became clear that peasant women’s struggles transcend borders. From Mozambique to India to Honduras, the women highlighted their longstanding struggles against femicide, lack of access to land, lack of respect for their rights as human beings and as workers, and laws that threaten peasant and native seeds, of which most of them are guardians.
On July 18th, the peasant women will develop a plan of action for the next four years and define their contributions to the VII Conference of La Vía Campesina that will take place between 19 and 22 July.
Elizabeth Mpofu of the peasant organization ZIMSOFF (Zimbabwe), and currently the coordinator of La Vía Campesina, expressed: “the world is in the throes of the agonies of childbirth, characterised by inequality, wars that prevents peace, hunger, drought, high food prices and violence”. She emphasised that in the face of this structural crisis, women are at the forefront of food production and social change based on solidarity, justice and equality.
Globalize the struggle, globalize hope!