Rights of Peasants

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.

A Declaration on the Rights of Peasants

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.

In October 2023, the United Nations Human Rights Council, with an overwhelming majority of Member States in favour, took another historic step. It voted in favour of Resolution 54/9 to create a follow-up mechanism to the Declaration. A Working Group of experts is now responsible for promoting and implementing the Declaration.

Download for free the e-book edited by CETIMThe UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants

Protect Peasants’ Rights Campaign

Access to justice for peasants

Training sheets on peasants’ rights

Violations of human rights in Madagascar

Since independence in 1960, political life in Madagascar has been disrupted by several attempted coups. On 17 March 2009, the then mayor of the capital, Andry Rajoelina (1974), took power by force, plunging the country into an endless political crisis. Although the African Union tried to find a consensual and inclusive political agreement to end […]

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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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Peasants’ rights: the urgency of closing gaps in protection

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am reading this statement on behalf of CETIM, FIAN International, le Mouvement Contre le Racisme et pour L’amitie entre les peuples —and La Via Campesina, a movement representing aprox. 200 million peasants, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people and agricultural workers from around the world. In absolute terms, there have never […]

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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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