For the first time in the United Nation’s mechanisam is coming closer to declare peasant rights. After 17 years of long and arduous negotiations, peasants and other people working in rural areas are only a step away from having a UN Declaration that could defend and protect their rights to land, seeds, biodiversity, local markets and a lot more.
Last week, on September 28, in a commendable show of solidarity and political will, member nations of United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution concluding the UN Declaration for the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. The declaration now goes before the upcoming 3rd Committee session at UN General Assembly in New York in October. From there, in November 2018, this Declaration will be up for voting and adoption by all Member States of the United Nations.
Once adopted, the UN Declaration will become a powerful tool for peasants and other people working in rural areas to seek justice and favourable national policies around food, agriculture, seeds and land keeping in mind the interests of millions of rural food producers comprising all genders and youth.
After several rounds of international consultation process, La Via Campesina – a global movement of peasants, indigenous people, pastoralists and migrant workers adopted in 2008 a Declaration of Rights of Peasants – Women and Men. With the support of civil society groups like CETIM and FIAN International, La Via Campesina Elizabeth Mpofu presenting this proposal to the Human Rights Council, said that this has been a long tough path but as peasants, as people who have seen the worst of poverty and neglect, we are tough too and we never give up.
This UN Declaration can provide a global framework for national legislation and policies to: better protect the rights of peasants – women and men – and improve livelihoods in rural areas, reinforce food sovereignty, the fight against climate change and the conservation of biodiversity, take actions to implement comprehensive agrarian reform and a better protection against land-grabbing, realise the right of peasants to conserve, use, exchange and sell their seeds and ensure remunerative prices for peasant production and rights for agricultural workers.