The Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas was adopted by the UN General Assembly in New York. This is a historic victory for peasants and for the organizations that have supported them for 17 years.
The adoption of the Declaration on peasants’ rights is the result of a long years of work by CETIM and its partners, including Via Campesina, an organization that represents millions of peasants worldwide.
Let’s start with a simple observation : peasants (with their families) represent nearly half of humanity but their rights are denied in many countries. Famine, poverty, expropriations, these are just some of the problems they confront every day.
” It is the peasants of Via Campesina that decided that states must recognize their rights ” explains Henry Saragih in a book on this subject that will be published soon by CETIM.
Seventeen years of struggle
The process followed by Via Campesina to obtain recognition of their basic rights is exemplary. Delegates from various countries started by drafting Articles of the future Declaration. Then they established an entry into the United Nations with the help of CETIM. This Geneva based organization which has consultative status with the UN, acts as an interface between that institution and social movements.
” The key elements of the Declaration, to name but a few, are the right to land and natural resources, the right to a decent income and to the means of production, the right to seeds, the right to social security and of course, to food sovereignty. ” explains Melik Ozden, Director of CETIM.
The Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas was adopted by the UN General Assembly in New York. It will allow the populations concerned to assert their rights (such as the right to seeds) and to participate in decision making on agriculture, fishing, agrofood policy and any issues affecting their communities. Furthermore, this tool will serve as a reference for developing programmes and policies relating to peasants, whether it be to integrate their rights in national legislation or to negotiate international trade agreements. Finally it will be an important tool for institutions and those defending human rights. In short, for any entity involved in the question of peasants’ rights.
All that remains now, is to implement this Declaration. Quite a challenge. . .