Image courtesy: AP
Around 75 progressive, people’s organisations across the globe signed a full-page declaration on February 16, 2021 edition of the New York Times wherein “citizens of the world” promised to support protesting Indian farmers in their fight for livelihood.
Paid by the Justice for Migrant Women organisation, the declaration calls upon human rights champions around the world to join and condemn the abuses against India’s farmers, labourers, protesters demanding the withdrawal of the the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance & Farm Services Act, the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act and the legalisation of Minimum Support Price (MSP.) This huge show of solidarity comes days after the Super Bowl farmers advertisement that ran for 30 seconds.
“Use your voice to call on India to respect the core principles of democracy, including the rights of all people to protest peacefully, demand accountability and envision a safer, healthier and more just future for all people on the planet,” said the full page ad.
The Ohio-based NGO also started a “SolidarityWithIndianFarmers” section on its website with the following video on its page:
Meanwhile, the largest US federation of unions American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the Carribean Agroecology Institute, the Food Chain Workers Alliance, the Hispanic Federation, Hindus for Human Rights, the Southeastern African American Farmers’ Organic Network, the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice and many other farmers, labour and people’s organisations came forward to support the farmers in their battle against the three laws.
Signatories decried the state-sanctioned violence against millions of farmers through the use of tear gas, water cannons, mass arrests and indefinite detentions. They supported farmers’ argument that the three laws benefit corporations and remove the protection and farmland from annadaatas.
“An increase in industrial farming could have a devastating effect on the food we consume and the future of our environment,” they said.
Further, organisations also condemned the cutting of electricity, water supplies and internet services as well as the media censure and arrests and detentions of activists, journalists. Signatories said India’s actions opposed all democratic principles that demanded protection of civic and political participation and commitment to human rights.
Supporters also sent a message to farmers that said:
“To Indian farmers: You have ignited one of the largest protests in human history. From the fields of Punjab to the villages of Kerala to the streets of New Delhi, your voices echo around the world. Now we raise our voices in solidarity.”
India’s farmers have received such continued international support since the movement gained strength in late November 2020. Brazil’s labour organisation and Canadian MPs were among the first international dignitaries to stand with farmers.
Meanwhile, the Delhi police recently charged journalists, activists supporting farmers with sedition charges. Nonetheless, farmers continue to raise awareness about the laws through mahapanchayats that have reached as far as Telangana. On February 18, farmers have called for a nationwide protest.