The Rights of the Peasants approved by the United Nations General Assembly!
20 november 2018 - November, 19 was a historic day for peasants and farmers from all over the world. With 119 votes in favour, 7 against and 49 abstentions, the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, meeting in New York, approved the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (here you can find the official UN resolution). This is a victory that comes after years of battles waged by different actors from the civil society, primarily La Via Campesina, FIAN and many others.
The UN Declaration aims to better protect the rights of all rural populations including peasants, fisherfolks, nomads, agricultural workers and indigenous peoples and to improve living conditions, as well as to strengthen food sovereignty, the fight against climate change and the conservation of biodiversity. The endorsement of the UN Declaration also constitutes an important contribution to the international community’s effort to promote family farming and peasant agriculture.
The Committee’s approval of the UN Declaration benefitted from a consistent support from Africa, Asia and Latin America regions. The US delegation rejected the text, while the European countries were divided in their response.
“In the Third Committee, where all the UN countries participate, we have witnessed a great diversity of positions in Eastern and Western Europe. For those who supported us, we thank them greatly. Your votes in favour put human values in the human rights, giving hope for millions of peasants, men and women, across the continent. For those who abstained or voted against, we wish to tell you that peasants and small family farmers in your countries cannot be left behind”, said Ramona Duminicioiu from La Via Campesina Europe.
In a press release issued this morning, the Associazione Rurale Italiana (the Italian Rural Association, member of LVC), commented with regard to Italy's abstention: "Italy – as increasingly often – stands out for its total inability to take a position on agricultural issues. It hides behind the EU's position, in spite of the efforts that we, other peasant associations and civil society organisations have made to obtain a positive vote. We are confident and we are ready to promote a more constructive and careful attitude, that our institutions have to adopt in order to finally acknowledge the importance of this declaration of collective rights. Indeed, this Declaration can and must guide the choices of our country in matters of agricultural policies, legislation for the recognition of peasant agriculture and the rights of native and migrant agricultural workers".