The following resolution was adopted at the IADL Council meeting, in virtual session, on 7 February 2021:
IADL RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE FARMERS’ MOVEMENT IN INDIA
The International Association of Democratic Lawyers expresses its strong support for the farmers, farm labourers and civil society of India, who have been engaged in a bitterly hard yet peaceful struggle to uphold their economic, social, political and civil rights. The farmers’ movement is challenging arbitrary anti-farmer, anti-poor legislation that severely weakens the bargaining power that farmers do have over the food chain, including what they can grow, and at what price they can sell, while empowering the private sector to set those terms.
Since fall 2020, farmers in the states of Punjab and Haryana have been opposing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Prime Minister Narendra Modi administration’s three farm bills adversely impacting food sovereignty in the region. Farmers across India have joined in the struggle, especially after years of corporate interventions have already caused great distress and poverty. The BJP has advanced these bills hastily and undemocratically, taking advantage of the abnormal situation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hundreds of thousands of farmers, including women, children and very old men and women, came to the highways at the borders of Delhi – the capital of India, to remain for months in severely cold conditions to demand the repeal of these laws. Approximately 190 farmers participating in the movement have died during this period due to cold and other reasons.
The International Association of Democratic Lawyers joins with the farmers’ movement in viewing this legislation as a plan for elimination of small and medium farm holdings and a total takeover by multinational mega-corporations. IADL further condemns the autocratic mechanisms of the Modi government, utilizing a massive propaganda drive and tactics of terror to tarnish the struggle as parochial or anti-national in order to further this pro-corporate, anti-farmer strategy.
The IADL hails the struggle of the farmers in India and calls for the immediate repeal of anti-people laws, and salutes the full participation of Indian lawyers in the people’s struggle. India’s farmers have shown the world that strong popular movements have the potential to challenge neoliberal policies and repressive power structures.