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Call for Action on September 10th International Day of Action Against WTO

The Commemoration of Lee Kyoung - Hae

It was in Cancun two years ago, that we heard the cry of Lee Kyoung – Hae: “WTO Kills Farmers.” Since then the livelihoods of peasants remain the same or are even worse. Peasants, who are the majority of the world’s population, live in poverty and they are forced to leave their farmland and migrate to the cities in search of jobs. In doing so they often must seek work in other countries.

The WTO agreement obliges member countries to open up domestic markets and peasants cannot compete with the cheap price of highly subsidized foreign agricultural products. Foreign products might contain GMO’s since people do not know the origin of the product and how it is produced.

The low price of the agriculture products does not cover production costs, this situation forces peasant to get loans from banks to continue farming. This often results in bankruptcy with farming families losing the land they have owned for many generations.

Transnational Corporations (TNCs) get the most of the profits. Consolidation of the world production system with a global hierarchy, created an increasing gap between rich and poor countries. This becomes obvious through the control of seeds, pesticides, agricultural technology by a few TNCs.

Via Campesina calls for mobilization and actions against liberalization, dumping and low priced imports, between now and the December 13-18 Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Hong Kong.

Some examples of actions that are already underway or being planned include:



Actions
in Indonesia: mass mobilization in Jakarta on September 10th against WTO and Free Trade along with week of action during National Peasant Day in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara.

In Thailand the Thai farmers will send a message of solidarity message to Korean farmers and organize an action in front of Korean Embassy in Bangkok.

In East Timor ( a new country that is not yet part of WTO) in the district of Ermera we will organize mass education actions on the impact of WTO on peasants. We will conclude by submiting a political statement to the Timor Leste government on the dangers of WTO.

Thousands of Korean peasants, men and women, will march in Seoul and international delegates from La Via Campesina will participate. The Korean farmers will give an award to persons who defend peasant agriculture in Korea.

In the Philippines farmers will organize a national campaign in Manila to reject the WTO. The action is part of a series of actions in the run up to the Hong Kong Ministerial meeting of the WTO.
Mass education at the grassroots level, involving the peasant and indigenous peoples will be organized in Sarawak, Malaysia.

In Japan a workshop on WTO will be organized on September 10th.

We call upon governments to take unilateral action to protect domestic, peasant based food production through measures that prohibit low priced food imports.

We call for coordinated mobilizations around the world on the following dates:

10th of September (Lee Kyung-Hae Day, an International Day of action against WTO)
During the General Council meeting of WTO in Geneva, October 2005
In Hong Kong and around the world during the December 13-18 Ministerial Conference of the WTO.
April 17th (International Day of Peasant Struggle)


Please send information about your actions to viacampesina@viacampesina.org so that we can publish them on the website of Via Campesina (http://www.viacampesina.org) Contacts in Korea: KPL (Korean Peasant League) junsaa@naver.com , KWPA (Korean Women Peasant Association) junyeonong@hanmail.net


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