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

Peasant rights at the top of the UN agenda

In the framework of the 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), a delegation of La Via Campesina (LVC), supported by its historical allies CETIM and FIAN International, met in Geneva to continue the advocacy work in favor of the promotion of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People […]

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Colombia: Complaint to UN mechanisms about the violation of peasants’ rights

PRESS RELEASE Geneva, May 19, 2022 – FENSUAGRO, La Via Campesina, CETIM, Friends of the Earth International, and FIAN International submitted a report to the UN special mechanisms to denounce the violations and repression against the Colombian peasantry, in particular the persecution of the National Agricultural Trade Union Federation (FENSUAGRO)[1]. The issue of access to […]

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The Rights of Peasants: A juridical and political lever to challenge the power of transnational corporations

Agriculture, and more generally, food production, has been mankind’s principal activity since its very first settlements. Under the pretence of feeding mankind, from the nineteenth century onwards, this activity has become industrialised (through mechanisation, the ‘green revolution’, the intensive use of chemicals and digitalisation), which allowed, at least initially, increases in production.

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