Geneva, 26 July 2013 – The United Nations Human Rights Council’s Open Intergovernmental Working Group has begun a first reading of the draft of the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants. The CETIM welcomes the support accorded this process by the overwhelming majority of member states.
The first session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on a United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas entrusted with drafting the declaration was held in Geneva from 15 to 19 July 2013. The CETIM, in collaboration with other organizations, in particular La Vía Campesina, has been supporting the process from the outset.
The CETIM welcomes the support by the overwhelming majority of participating states, which have emphasized the necessity and importance of adopting a declaration on the rights of peasants in opposing discrimination against this population group and for the improvement of their living and working conditions.
However, it is deplorable that the United States and most of the members of the European Union, in particular, have opposed the effort by, above all, advancing specious procedural arguments and by declaring themselves opposed to “new rights”. In this regard, these states, while making general statements, have refused to participate in the negotiations on the Declaration at the risk of failing to have included in it specific issues important to their own peasant populations.
The discussions focused in particular on the right to land, the notion of food sovereignty and intellectual property (regarding seeds, for example).
During the discussion, the CETIM suggested the inclusion of the right to social security and measures that states should undertake to implement the Declaration.
It is worth recalling that this declaration will constitute an effective tool in the struggle against hunger and inequality.
At the close of its deliberations, the Working Group decided to hold its second session in 2014 and to entrust to its chair and rapporteur, Angélica C. Navarro Llanos (Bolivia), the preparation of a new text in the light of the week’s discussions.