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4 November 2014 | | | | | | | | | |

Interview with Diego Monton

The Latin American Coordination of Countryside Organizations (CLOC-VC) before the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington

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For the second consecutive year, a delegation of the Latin American Coordination of Countryside Organizations (CLOC-VC) appeared before the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS) to denounce regional human rights violation processes against peasants, which also affect the basic rights of urban communities and countries as a whole.

In particular, they denounced the multiple and similar laws privatizing native seeds through patents and plant breeders’ rights, in addition to the extractive industries that dispute territories with food production and the life itself of peasant rural communities in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Focusing on the presence of transnational food and agribusiness corporations and extractive raw materials, CLOC´s presentation was joined by the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS) of Argentina and FIAN International For the Right to Adequate Food.

This is what Diego Monton said in an interview with Real World Radio. Monton is a member of CLOC´s Operative Secretariat. He pointed out that in 2013, a delegation had participated in the round of hearings at the IACHR as a response to the “window of interest” shown by the Commission around Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The situation of women in the countryside, the above mentioned seed laws, the process of imposing GM crops, strongly influenced by intellectual property rights of companies such as Monsanto, and the “land grabbing” by foreign States in Latin America are some of the issues dealt with in a report launched last week.

Monton critized the role of the IACHR because it depends on an entity such as the OAS which excludes some Latin American countries such as Cuba, and because it´s headquarters are located in Washington D.C., USA, a country that has not signed some of the international conventions around human rights. He also highlighted the fact that other regional spaces, such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) have implemented HR monitoring activities.

The representative of the peasant coordination said that after the previous hearing at the IACHR he has led some missions, for instance, in Curuguaty, Paraguay, and that a more proactive attitude is needed to safeguard the affected rights. His demands include to “carry out diagnoses and monitor the situation of the rights to food and territories which allow the making of recommendations to States in order to have a greater influence on the conditions of living and validity of human rights, especially economic, social and cultural rights”.

In the interview with Real World Radio, Monton said that the aim is to generate a doctrine that guarantees justice for human rights violations perpetrated by corporations, based on the principle of food sovereignty and others. Stopping the “seed laws” under the “protection of plant breeders” and the outlawing of peasant seeds are among their priorities.

In this way, Diego Monton said that based on the documents submitted by the delegation of CLOC and others who participated in this round of sessions at the IACHR “it is clear that this requires specific doctrine and clear intervention mechanisms”. As a reference, he said that at the level of the UN´s Human Rights Council it was resolved to start a path for the building of binding regulations for transnational corporations. “We hope the IACHR can continue paying attention to these discussions to incorporate the attacks committed by these actors to their permanent work agenda”, reads the document submitted by the delegation.

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