Palestine: no food sovereignty without national sovereignty


The Union of Agricultural Work Committees (a Palestinian peasant organisation and member of La Via Campesina), CETIM and FIAN International conducted a week of advocacy in support of the Palestinian people’s struggle against Israeli colonialist and genocidal oppression. This campaign took place from 5 to 11 March 2024, on the occasion of the 55th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva. During the week, the above-mentioned organisations raised their voices against the Israeli genocide and its repercussions for the struggle for land and food sovereignty. They also reiterated the importance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP), which is a key tool in Palestinian peasant struggles for the protection of their fundamental rights, as well as for the principles of social and climate justice.

At this juncture, the heinous crimes perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian population were denounced with a particular focus on the most targeted vulnerable segments which are precisely the people living and working in rural areas, women and children. Central to the advocacy efforts was the urgent call to address the dire consequences of the Israeli indiscriminate bombardment and abiding illegal occupation of the Palestinian territory, which gravely infringe upon Palestinians’ fundamental rights to food and food sovereignty. The systematic violation of these rights has reached unprecedented levels in Palestine, as the number of food insecure Palestinians, especially in Gaza, is the highest ever registered! Therefore, UAWC strongly urged the Human Rights Council and its member States to cease complicity in the Israeli genocide, which employs not only bombs but also starvation as a tool of warfare against an entire population.

In the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Mr. Michael Fakhri, the representative of UAWC Yasmeen El-Hasan delivered a poignant oral statement condemning the complicity of some countries and institutions in perpetuating the ongoing genocide in Gaza. She highlighted that Israel’s systematic destruction of vital Palestinian infrastructure ensures that those not killed by their bombs will be “killed by preventable starvation, dehydration, or disease – all of which are happening as we speak”. She also stated that the choice of speaking about food sovereignty rather than food security is conscious, as food insecurity is not due to a lack of resources but rather the consequence of a political choice. “If we had sovereignty over our land and natural resources, Palestinians would be food secure. Gaza’s population of 2.3 million, over half of whom are children, would not be facing famine”. See the video of the speech here.

Additionally, UAWC, CETIM and FIAN International also convened multiple bilateral discussions with representatives of UN mechanisms and bodies, and in particular with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Michael Fakhri, who has been vehemently denouncing Israel’s deliberate violations of the right to food of Palestinian people (see media links below). As part of such exchanges, Yasmeen El-Hasan participated as a panellist in a side event convened by Mr. Fakhri. The event delved into the pressing issue of Palestinian food sovereignty, and UAWC elucidated that Palestinian food sovereignty is intrinsically intertwined with the much-needed sovereignty of the Palestinian state. Emphasizing that true food sovereignty remains unattainable without the liberation of Palestine from the shackles of Israeli settler colonialism, UAWC underscored the urgent need for effective global action in this endeavour.

Moreover, CETIM and FIAN International facilitated several bilateral engagements between UAWC and aligned states that are supportive to the Palestinian struggle for liberation. This was indeed another significant achievement of the advocacy work at the HRC. In meetings with representatives from Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, South Africa, Indonesia, Algeria and Spain, while thanking them for their support, called for greater coordination between their initiatives in favour of Palestine. UAWC will offer to these countries insights gleaned from the ground and will continue explore avenues for collaborative aid missions.

Throughout the week, the UAWC’s engagement in the HRC attracted considerable media coverage (see links below), with Yasmeen participating in one-on-one interviews with local newspapers and joining the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food in a press conference attended by a diverse array of UN-registered media outlets. Amidst the media spotlight, UAWC reiterated the unwavering determination of Palestinians to transcend mere ceasefires and confront the root cause of their plight – the relentless grip of Israeli settler colonialism. Underscoring once more the indispensable link between Palestinian statehood and the issue of food sovereignty for the Palestinian people, Yasmeen emphasized the imperative of establishing a sovereign Palestinian state with control over its resources, infrastructure, and land. In this regard, putting an end to the ongoing Israeli genocide and the historical apartheid must serve as the foundational steps toward fully realising the enduring struggle for a free and sovereign Palestinian state.

Read here UAWC-FIAN’s briefinf note on the use of startvation

Media links:


Categories Access to justice Campaigns Cases News Palestine Rights of peasants
bursa evden eve nakliyat