Finally UN General Assembly adopts Peasant Rights declaration

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peasants-rights declaration by United Nations

By Team

2018, climaxed and ended blatant violation of peasants rights and food sovereignty among others.  It entered in historical books that ushered a legal instrument that will ensure that peasants’ rights, food sovereignty, agro-ecology and indegineous seeds are upheld, promoted and protected.

The 73 Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 73) in New York was left without option but to adopt and set a global standard on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas.

The17-year-long process led by La Via Campesina a global peasants movement ended with majority support vote of 121 votes in favour, 8 votes against and 54 abstentions. The UNGA has 193 Member States.

2018 was decisive for the process of the Declaration: Geneva: in April, after 6 years of negotiations, the 5th Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group of the Human Rights Council (HRC) concluded the debates on the content, finalizing the text. In September, the HRC (39th Session) adopted the Declaration by a majority vote; Rome: in October, during the 45th Forum of the Global Committee for Food Security, La Via Campesina together with the Civil Society Mechanism and with the support from several countries and UN institutions, organized a political event promoting the Declaration under the framework of the Decade for Family Farming; and New York: in November the Declaration reached the process of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). On November 19th, the Declaration was voted and approved with a large majority by the Third Committee of UNGA, responsible for social, humanitarian and cultural matters.

”This declaration is an important tool which should guarantee and realize the rights of the peasants and other working people in rural areas. We urge all states to implement the declaration in conscientiousness and transparent manner, guaranteeing peasants and rural communities the access to and control over land, indigenous seeds, water and other natural resources. As peasants we need the protection and the respect for our values and our role in society to achieve food sovereignty,” said Elizabeth Mpofu, a peasant farmer from Zimbabwe and La Via Campesina General Coordinator.

Violations of our rights through land grabbing, forced evictions, gender discrimination, lack of social protection, failing rural development policies and criminalization can now, with the formal international recognition of this Declaration, be addressed with increased legal and political weight.