At the global level, there are currently some 1.2 billion peasants and together with their families they represent one third of humanity. In absolute terms, there are more peasants today than ever before in history.
Peasants and other rural workers are key to food sovereignty and the realization of the right to food, in particular in developing countries where they provide up to 80% of the food consumed at the local level.
Peasants play a key role in the fight against climate change and the conservation of biodiversity
Yet peasants and other people working in rural areas are among the most vulnerable and discriminated-against group. They are victims of multiple violations of their human rights and suffer disproportionately from hunger and poverty. 80% of those victims of hunger in the world live and work in rural areas.
The CETIM works for several years in favor of the rights of peasants. lt provides its support to organizations representing peasants and other rural workers in the Global South for the access to the UN human rights protection mechanisms. The CETIM is also strongly involved to their sides in the campaign for the adoption of a United Nations Declaration on the rights of peasants and oher people working in rural areas, offering its support so that they are able to participate in the negotiations and present their proposals.
On 17 December 2018, the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Others Working in Rural Areas. Alongside La Via Campesina, CETIM was strongly involved in the process that led to the adoption of this indispensable tool. In particular, it offered its support to peasants to enable them to participate in the negotiations and to make their proposals heard.
The adoption of the Declaration is a historic moment. It is the result of a 17-year struggle for the recognition of the rights of this particularly vulnerable population. If respected and implemented, this instrument will be useful, not only for peasants, but for humanity as a whole.
One year after the adoption of this indispensable tool, a joint declaration was signed by nine special rapporteurs and experts and four members of the UN treaty bodies. This document stresses that farmers must participate “in all decision-making processes that affect their lives, lands, resources and livelihoods” and repeatedly urges states to play a key role in implementing the Declaration.
The publication of such a document is a strong sign and a hope for the future of the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants. However, CETIM and Via Campesina continue to advocate for its implementation. Indeed, the challenge continues on a daily basis.
Order the e-book edited by CETIM “The UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants“.