Campaign “Protection of Peasants’ Rights”

Peasants are key to food security, the fight against climate change and the conservation of biodiversity security. Yet their rights are systemically violated and they are subject to multiple discrimination.

80% of the people that suffer from hunger and extreme poverty live in rural areas and most of them are peasants

Each day peasant farms disappear because of the lack of  remunerative prices or access to productive resources, and peasants are evicted from their lands or killed when they defend their rights.

CETIM is committed to a better protection and promotion of the rights of peasants alongside La Vía Campesina. The international peasant movement brings together more than 164 organisations in 73 countries. It represents about 200 million peasants. FIAN International is also a long-standing partner in this vital fight. The first victory came in 2012. A majority of the Member States of the Human Rights Council voted in favour of the resolution “Promotion and protection of the human rights of peasants and other people living in rural areas” (21/19). This resolution was presented by Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador and South Africa. It establishes an intergovernmental working group. This new body is tasked with drafting and adopting a Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas.

A historic victory

After more than 17 years of struggle, CETIM and its partners see their efforts rewarded. A new international instrument was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2018. It is the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants.

This legal instrument now makes it possible to:

  • to better protect the rights of peasants and improve livelihoods in rural area
  • to reinforce food sovereignty, the fight against climate change and the conservation of biodiversity
  • adopt genuine agrarian reform and better protection against land grabbing
  • protect the right of peasants to save, use, exchange and sell their seeds
  • guarantee remunerative prices for peasant production and rights for agricultural workers.

The final vote represents the culmination of a historic process for rural communities. With 122 votes in favour, 8 votes against and 54 abstentions, the forum of UNGA representing 193 Member States, ushered in a new promising chapter in the struggle for the rights of peasants and other rural communities throughout the world.

This Declaration is an international legal instrument that can change the lives of millions of peasants around the world. This is why the CETIM, La Via Campesina and its allies are mobilising to support the implementation processes. And this at the international, regional and national levels.

In October 2023, the United Nations Human Rights Council, with an overwhelming majority of member states in favour, took a historic step by voting in favour of Resolution 54/9 to create a follow-up mechanism to the Declaration, in the form of a new UN Special Procedure: a Working Group of experts is now mandated to work on the promotion and implementation of the UNDROP.

For more information on the Declaration and the struggle for peasants’ rights:

Visit our website Defending Peasants’ rightsTS’ RIGHTS. Platform of rural struggles in action!

Read our didactic training sheets

Access to justice and the right to food: the way forward

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL 28th session [Extract from the statement] In her recommendations, the Special Rapporteur rightly calls for social protection for everyone. In this respect, we would like to draw your attention to the situation of peasants. Considered as self-employed, most farmers do not benefit from social security. Yet this is a crucial issue for […]

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UN: Establishment of the Working Group on Peasants’ Rights

In October 2023, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution setting up a new UN special procedure on the rights of peasants. This is yet another historic achievement for the international peasant movement and for peasant farmers around the world. The task of the new Working Group will be to ensure the implementation and promotion […]

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Fact sheet on the UN Working Group on UNDROP

At the occasion of the election of the experts for the UN Working Group on UNDROP, Fian International, CETIM and La Via Campesina published a new fact sheet on the Working Group. The document explains why it was so impertive to have a Working Group installed. It also details what are the prerogatives of the […]

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