Ending the discrimination against peasants

Session 13Human Rights Council

Item 5.A: Human rights bodies and mechanisms Advisory Committee. Spoken statement from CETIM.

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Mr. President,
I am Henry Saragih, general coordinator of La Via Campesina. La Via Campesina is global movement and organisations of peasants based in many countries including in Senegal, India, Switzerland, France, Spain, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, Mali, and many more. We have about 200 millions member which participated actively in La Via Campesina.

On behalf of La Via Campesina and the CETIM, I am coming here in the 13th session of the UN Human Rights Council to congratulate the work of UN human rights body, especially the Advisory Committee on establishing the groundwork of promotion and protection of rights of peasants. The fourth session of the Advisory Committee delivered the report (A/HRC/13/32) and recommendation which set a standard of non-discrimination against peasants, particularly rural women, and other people living in rural areas, including those engaged in traditional fishing, hunting, and herding activities.

La Via Campesina urged UN Human Rights Council, particularly honorable member states, to carry the result of the Advisory Committee into further steps in the council. I believe that you all aware how urgent for all of us to end discrimination against peasants, and to develop a ever wider cooperation for positive measures.

I urge the council to sustain further effort in responding the food crisis. We may disagree on how we would assess the situation, then and now. But, I believe that we come to clear conclusion. The food crisis shows that the world need to work together. The victims of food crisis are not only in terms of deprivation, but also of life. Many falls into hunger, acute poverty, and discrimination. The record shows that more than 1 billion people were undernourished worldwide. According to FAO, the Asia and Pacific region had the largest number of hungry people (642 million), followed by sub-Saharan Africa (264 million). As of now, especially in many parts of the world, the food crisis is far from over. We are also awakened that economic system and profit-making of food production are clearly linked to that situation.

Hunger refers to rural problem where peasants, small landholders, landless workers, fisherfolk, hunters and gatherers who suffer disproportionately. The United Nations Millennium Development Project Task Force on Hunger has shown that 80 percent of the world’s hungry live in rural areas. Some 50 per cent of the world’s hungry are smallholder farmers who depend mainly or partly on agriculture for their livelihoods, but lack sufficient access to productive Furthermore, the food crisis only reaffirm the urgent need of the recognition of fundamental rights of peasants. The ability of the world to create food sovereignty is very much linked to the mode of life and production that peasants are working on. The various reports of many intergovernmental organisations, independent experts and researchers, analysis of cooperation organisations and state-commissioned report shows the link between the life of peasants with the food situation. Also, La via campesina has many cases and patterns of how food crisis happened, and of how peasants organisations is vital in responding that.

La via Campesina has been started effort in developing food sovereignty and recognition of rights of peasants in many parts of the world. In the international conference in 2002 in Jakarta, Indonesia, La Via Campesina adopting the declaration rights of peasants, and in the La Via Campesina General Conference October 2008 in Maputo, Mozambique, La Via Campesina worldwide declared the global call for rights of peasants. La Via Campesina runs many consultations and engagements with members, government of member states, experts and researchers, and parts of society. Those have been intensifying after the international conference in Jakarta 2008. We go to many parts of the world for this effort, including to Bolivia, Brazil, Mozambique, Thailand, India, Belgium, Spain, Indonesia, Italy including in the session of UN bodies, including joint initiative with the office of the President of the UN General Assembly in discussing “the Global Food Crisis and Right to Food” in April 2009. As of now, we are convinced that the right of peasants is supported and fought by many parts of society and of policymaking fora. We keep on engaging United Nations and member states on developing food sovereignty and on protection of peasants.

I call attention to you, honorable delegates, to put into practice of the recommendations of study of the Advisory Committee. We also asked you for the acknowledgement of the work of the Advisory Committee, including for the continuation of their work. In this light, we also ask the Human Rights Council for the extension of work of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.

I believe that we all would carry on developing a worldwide cooperation to end discrimination against peasants.
I thank you.

Geneva, 16th March 2010

Categories HUMAN RIGHTS Rights of peasants Statements Transnational Corporations
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