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

Rights of peasants: a long and joint effort

The CETIM was approached already in 2001 by La Vía Campesina to support its  organizations have carried on an important information and advocacy effort at the Commission and then the Human Rights Council, with several peasant organizations delegates, from the Global North and Global South, coming to Geneva, and the presentation of a number of […]

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Toward the adoption by the United Nations of an international declaration on the right of peasants and other persons living in rural areas !

Geneva, 1st September 2012 – It is with immense satisfaction that the small-scale farmers union Uniterre, representing in Switzerland the international peasants movement La Vía Compesina, and its partners in this undertaking, the Europe – Third World Centre (CETIM) and FIAN Switzerland, announce that the Human Rights Council has deemed it necessary to better protect […]

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To promote and strengthen the agricultural local and national economies: only effective way to fight against prices escalation of agricultural products and their shortage

The current crisis of agricultural raw materials severely affects the poorest peoples of our planet.1 Prices on the world market for cereals are rising for a year : wheat prices increased by 130%, rice 80% and maize 35%.2 This crisis has not one single cause. This current food crisis is the result of many years […]

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For a Convention on peasant rights !

SEE THE INTRODUCTION IN THE FRENCH PAGE ! Mr President, We, peasants, women and men, of the International movement La Via Campesina, organised from 20 to 25 of June 2008 the International Conference on Peasant Rights in Jakarta, Indonesia. After seven years of intense discussions on the content and strategies, our spirits are high and […]

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