Mr. Donald Tsang
Dear Mr Tsang ,
Warm greetings of Peace and Goodwill!
We, Asian Farmersâ€™ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), an alliance of national small farmersâ€™ organizations from ten countries in Southeast and North Asia, is deeply concerned about the continuous detention of 14 anti-WTO demonstrators, following the rally last December 17, 2005.
Together with many international groups, including the groups of Korean farmers and trade union leaders, we went to Hongkong to voice out our protest against unfair agricultural global agricultural trade rules and push WTO members to protect farmers rights and livelihoods in the current DOHA round negotiations.
We are aware that under the WTO rules, our farming livelihoods are being threatened. There is drastic reduction in our incomes; as well as government support to our sector. Together with farmers from all over the world, we called for a stop to WTOâ€™s continuous neglect to our concerns. We were deeply moved by the sincere actions of our fellow Korean farmers. We deeply admired their determination and courage in fighting for their rights and lives.
We lament the fact that many people were injured, including some Hongkong policemen, during the Dec. 17 anti-WTO rally.
However, we sincerely hope that that your government will broaden its understanding of protest actions.
In the name of democracy and freedom of speech and expression, we call on you to release all the 14 detainees unconditionally and to drop all charges. We sincerely hope that your government will really maintain its maximum tolerance policy and will protect the human rights of those in custody.
Ma. Estrella A. Penunia
Asian Farmersâ€™ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA)