Struggle of BTL farmers gains international support
Solidarity messages from various international groups poured for the Buffalo-Tamaraw-Limus farmers as Hunglos Solidarity Mission kicks off today. These messages generally supported the on-going protest of the BTL farmers to contest the Central Mindanao University claim over 400 hectares of land in Maramag, Bukidnon.
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth. This adage is true in the case of the struggle of the Buffalo-Tamaraw-Limus farmers whose struggle for land and life gains momentum every day and receives various forms of solidarity from various groups worldwide," Pat Marzon of Amihan Northern Mindanao and secretariat of Hunglos Solidarity Mission expressed.
Ms. Marzon relates that ever since they have linked up with the Asia Rural Women's Coalition (ARWC) in hosting an online petition letter addressed to President Benigno Aquino III for the resolution of the land dispute in CMU, messages of support have reached the office of Amihan Northern Mindanao.
In one of the solidarity messages ARWC "expressed its support and solidarity to the women and men peasants who remain to be vigilant and courageous, despite the odds, in fighting for their rights to their land, livelihood and life."The Asian Rural Women's Coalition comprises more than 700 women from various sectors coming from 21 countries in Asia.
The land disputed has escalated to the recent shooting of CMU guards of farmers holding a protest camp out in front of Central University main gate resulting to the injury of 6 farmers.
AMIHAN Northern Mindanao together with other groups, have organized HUNGLOS: Solidarity Mission for the Struggle of the Farmers in Bukidnon on June 22-24, 2011 with Tomoko Kashiwazaki as representative of the ARWC and also of Asia Pacific Forum for Women in Law and Development (APWLD) to investigate on the reported human rights violations.
International organizations that sent statements of condemnation over the recent shooting incident and the continuing human rights violations in Bukidnon include Tamil Nadu Women's Forum, an India-based initiative for women's rights and gender justice. Tamil Nadu Women's Forum is a member organization of the International Movement against All forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), which has consultative status with UN ECOSOC (Roster).
Tamil Nadu Women's Forum statement "condemn the indiscriminate firing of the guards on the protesters, wounding six farmers - Winnie Loable, Jose Benimerito, MarilouPortin, AbelardoJardin, Larry de Vera and Gregorio Santillan".
Front Line, an International Foundation founded in Dublin for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, is further cited in their statement, "Front Line views the dispersal of the protest outside the CMU by officials as a serious infringement on the right to freedom of assembly. Front Line believes that the injuries received by the human rights defenders are directly related to their work in defence of human rights and in particular to their work in defending the land rights of the farmers in Bukidnon."
Other international organizations that gave out messages of solidarity are the Vikalpani National Federation, a partner of Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific's for Year of Rice Action and the Women Solidarity Forum.
Hunglos: Solidarity Mission kicked off today with over 200 delegates from international, national and local organizations. It is spearheaded by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Amihan Northern Mindanao, Karapatan, Barug Katungod, Community Based Health Services, Health Bukidnon and Rural Missionaries of the Philippines.
April Argen Pat B. Marzon
Staff, Amihan NMR
+639052472573 / +639996221291
Northern Mindanao Region
MINVIZCON Blg., IFI Compound
Bulua, Cagayan de Oro City
Tel.no: (088) 850-5854