18.12.2018 |

UN General Assembly says 'yes' to peasant rights declaration

A victory for peasants worldwide (Photo: CC0)

The United Nations have finally adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. On December 17, a large majority of 121 countries, amongst them most Asian, African and Latin American member states, voted in favor of Resolution no. A/C.3/73/L.30 at the 73th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. Only eight countries rejected the resolution (Australia, Guatemala, Hungary, Israel, New Zealand, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States), while 54 countries abstained from the vote, including Germany. The formal adoption represents the culmination of a historic process that was initiated 17 years ago by the international peasant movement La Via Campesina, supported by numerous civil society organizations. The declaration recognizes the rights and special needs of peasants and other people working in rural areas, including the rights to land, seeds, and biodiversity. “The approval of this new instrument signals a breakpoint,” the human rights organization FIAN International said in a statement. “The Signatory States have shown their concern over the particular conditions of discrimination suffered by peasant farmers, landless, rural workers, indigenous peoples, livestock herders, and small-scale fishers and their communities in all rural areas of the world.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, also welcomed the adoption of the declaration. “Globally, peasants feed the world but their own enjoyment of their human rights is challenged, including their own right to food,” she said in a press release. “I hope this Declaration will serve to enhance States’ commitment at all levels to uphold and protect the rights and dignity of peasants and other people working in rural areas. They play a critical role in preserving our culture, environment, livelihood and traditions, and must not be left behind as we implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” she added. La Via Campesina stressed that the focus will now be on implementation. ”This declaration is an important tool which should guarantee and realize the rights of the peasants and other working people in rural areas. We urge all states to implement the declaration in a conscientiousness and transparent manner, guaranteeing peasants and rural communities the access to and control over land, peasant’s seeds, water and other natural resources,” said Elizabeth Mpofu, General Coordinator of La Via Campesina and a farmer from Zimbabwe. “As peasants we need the protection and the respect for our values and our role in society to achieve food sovereignty.” (ab)

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