On 15th March 2023, CETIM and its partners (La Via Campesina, FIAN International, the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, the South Centre, as well as the permanent missions of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Honduras, Cuba, South Africa and Luxembourg) organised a side event during 52nd UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The event was entitled “Respecting, protecting and fulfilling the rights of peasants and other rural workers- a smart choice in times of multiple crises”
This event was part of the advocacy strategy to promote and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas internationally and more specifically within UN bodies. The event was therefore the opportunity to showcase the need to create an international monitoring mechanism for the declaration. This monitoring mechanism (special UN procedure in institutional jargon) will be a very important space for awareness-raising and airing grievances to support implementation initiatives as well as to raise the profile of the struggle against violations of peasant rights.
During the event, the issue of how peasant farmers can deal with the multiple crises affecting our societies was also raised. The panellists discussed, from different perspectives (peasants, the state, civil society organisations), how implementing the principles and provisions of the declaration could realistically contribute to tackling the structural and underlying causes of the crises.
Fulfilling peasant rights is an opportunity but also a challenge which concerns us all, not only the communities in rural areas who are directly affected. For this reason, it is vital to set in motion a collective and unified momentum which focuses on action and advocacy. This needs to be done at all levels.
On 17th April 2023, the International Day of Peasant’s Struggles, Via Campesina and the members of the website on peasants’ rights including CETIM, organised an online conference entitled “The living declaration! Peasant rights in practice- regional perspectives”
The event provided the opportunity to explore and discover real-world examples of how to promote and implement the declaration in different countries and regions. The presentations by peasant representatives showed the legislative progress made in some countries following the declaration as well as instances of case law following legal cases coming before national and regional courts.
This is a clear demonstration that the declaration really is a benchmark and a roadmap which peasant organisations can use to defend their rights and move the peasant agenda forward.