The criminalisation of ancestral seeds as part of a free trade agreement with the United States undermines the right to life and the right to food in Colombia

09/07/2024

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Session 24

[Excerpt from the statement

Since 19 August, the rural world in Colombia has been mobilising in the face of the government’s attempt to impose by force the free trade agreements signed, in particular, with the United States. Traditional peasant seed reserves have been the target of destruction orchestrated by the Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario (ICA), which, in order to prepare the ground for these agreements, has banned all non-certified seeds. As a result, the ancestral practice of seed improvement was criminalised by Decree No. 970, adopted in 2010.

The police intervened violently to destroy several thousand tonnes of the best seeds intended for the maintenance and reseeding of the main crops, in order to force farmers to buy seeds patented by a handful of transnational agri-food companies (mainly Monsanto, Sygenta and Dupont) at high prices. This provoked a revolt by farmers and other sectors of Colombian society, who launched a general strike and road blockades in several departments.

Read the CETIM’s oral declaration in French

Watch the video subtitled in English

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