By APC Secretariat
Jakarta, INDONESIA – On April 18-19, the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) organized a conference on “Advancing Genuine Agrarian Reform Movement in Asia” which was attended by 86 participants representing 30 organizations coming from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka. The conference was held in Grand Cemara, Jakarta, Indonesia and was hosted by the Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA).
Rahmat Ajiguna, secretary general of AGRA, talked about the “General Overview and Context of the Conference.” He said that “landlessness in Asia has further worsened due to massive land grabbing, land-use conversions and plunders of natural resources carried out by private investors (domestic or foreign).”
“Peasants’ right to land are continuously violated. Indigenous peoples are dislocated from their ancestral lands due to state-sponsored land grabbing. Food sovereignty is endangered. Amidst this situation, members of the APC had spearheaded collective action and campaigns towards genuine agrarian reform at the local/community and national level.” Rahmat added.
Rafael Mariano, national chairperson of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas or Peasant Movement of the Philippines (KMP) discussed the “Current State and Prospects of the Genuine Agrarian Reform Struggle and Movement.” Mariano stated that, “it is a big challenge to build the movement for genuine agrarian reform in Asia that will address the struggle for land and the right to food,” adding that “the coming together of various peasant organizations under the genuine agrarian reform platform is an assertion of their rights and control of land and productive resources. We have to unite with all peasant formations that demonstrate firm determination to struggle for genuine agrarian reform.”
“We acknowledge the peasant struggles and victories in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Mongolia and Malaysia,” Mariano said adding that “these victories reaffirm our long held conviction that only through the peasant and the people’s collective and direct political actions can the struggle for genuine agrarian reform be moved forward. These victories show that the hope for genuine agrarian reform still lies in a strong mass movement,” added Mariano.
Mariano facilitated the discussion of the Unity Statement entitled “Advance the Struggle for Genuine Agrarian Reform” which was collectively approved by the participants. It states that, “it is imperative to continue our collective efforts to share common experiences and effective strategies and to organize coordinated activities. We will intensify peasants’ militant action to defend their lands and livelihood. Let us further advance our campaign against corporate land grabbing and in defending the people’s collective rights to land and resources.
Undoubtedly, for the struggling peasants in Asia, prospects are bright and the current situations offer great challenges to further advance the peasants’ struggle and movement in Asia for genuine agrarian reform, food sovereignty and social change and to win more victories.”
The conference was organized in cooperation with the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) Commission 6, the Peoples’ Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) and the Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PAN AP).###