23.11.2018 |

UN committee approves declaration on the rights of peasants

Reinforcing peasants’ rights (Photo: CC0)

The UN has passed a resolution adopting a declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas. On 19 November, a large majority of 119 countries in the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly voted in favor of Resolution no. A/C.3/73/L.30, amongst them most Asian, African and Latin American member states. Seven countries rejected the resolution (Australia, Hungary, Israel, New Zealand, Sweden, the UK and the US), while 49 countries abstained from the vote, mostly European countries including Germany and Spain. However, this did not prevent Portugal, Luxemburg and Switzerland from supporting the document. The declaration recognizes the rights and special needs of peasants and other people working in rural areas, including fisher folks, nomads, agricultural workers and indigenous peoples, as well as older persons, women, youth and children, and takes into account the need to address the multiple forms of discrimination and threats suffered by peasants worldwide.

The process for a declaration of peasant rights has been a long journey. In 2012, an open-ended intergovernmental working group (OEIWG) was created after many years of advocacy work by La Via Campesina, the world’s largest peasant movement, supported by many other organizations across the globe. Bolivia, the chair of the process, welcomed the result of this week’s vote, stressing the importance of the declaration in realizing more resilient, sustainable and inclusive societies: “We believe this is a major step towards public policies that recognize not only the rights and needs of peasants but also their contributions to the well-being and quality of life of the societies they nurture through their daily work. We are sure that this instrument will play a central role in human rights as well as in the eradication of hunger and poverty, in line with Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and the Decade of Family Farming, without leaving anyone behind.”

La Via Campesina representatives also expressed their satisfaction: „The adoption of the declaration (…) is a strategic victory, not only for peasants but for the peoples of the world as a whole,” said Diego Monton from La Via Campesina (CLOC). “We will continue on this long path of struggle and unity, for rights and social justice, convinced that full democracy is only possible through Agrarian Reform, the social function of land and the full enjoyment of the rights of peasants”, he added. “For 17 years we have been patiently campaigning for an international instrument that can protect our rights as peasants and to guard our food systems from being dismantled to favour a few,” said Elizabeth Mpofu, General Coordinator of La Via Campesina. “It is a proud moment for millions of peasants worldwide, who never give up when faced with adversity.” After this week’s vote, the declaration needs to be formally ratified by the UN General Assembly in December. (ab)

Back to news list


Donors of globalagriculture Bread for all biovision Bread for the World Misereor Heidehof Stiftung Hilfswerk der Evangelischen Kirchen Schweiz Rapunzel
English versionDeutsche VersionDeutsche Version