Human Rights

Terra Nuova has always fought for the respect and protection of human rights for all.

Since the 'Declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen' at the time of the French Revolution, human rights have undergone a series of revisions and expansions. First generation human rights (civil and political rights), expanded, with second generation rights and the 1948 Universal Declaration, to encompass economic, social and cultural rights. More recently, so-called third generation rights, those establishing the right to solidarity, are aimed at populations and not (only) at individuals.

Social movements around the world have taken up the banner of human rights, identifying them as an important tool in the defence of marginalised and impoverished sectors of the population. One example of these struggles, and the results achieved, is the work currently being done at the UN Council on Human Rights to obtain a Declaration of the Rights of Peasants, and more generally, all the work done over recent years on defending the Right to Land, to which Terra Nuova (among many other organisations) contributed. This work led to Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Land Tenure being endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security in 2012.

The right to sufficient food is one of the 'new generation' of rights in which Terra Nuova has garnered extensive experience. We have been active in improving family-run agricultural production (in Ecuador and Nicaragua, for example), projects to improve the entire production chain and its links to local markets (in Mali, Peru and Somalia) as well as projects and advocacy campaigns to amend and harmonise (mainly national and EU) agricultural policies, focusing on Italian and European public opinion.

Terra Nuova has for some time been involved in promoting the right to non-discrimination based on gender, and in removing the structural and cultural causes of gender inequality. We have promoted women's leading role in demanding equal rights, equal opportunities and recognition of difference (in Peru, Nicaragua, Kenya and Central America). Furthermore, in recent years we have focused attention on strengthening organisations for sexual diversity, thereby improving defence of their rights (in Central America).

Lastly, although indirectly, Terra Nuova promotes the rights of migrants and therefore also the right to mobility, as well as the right to development and the right to live with dignity in one's place of birth.

As a result of our longstanding work in the global South, we are witness to the systematic attacks on family farming and the local economy that are occurring in various countries, as a result of policies that indiscriminately open trade, reduce public spending and, particularly, dismantle services of technical assistance and loans to rural producers, provide subsidies for European production while forcing Southern countries to suspend incentives for their own producers. We have observed the links between this dynamic and the way in which thousands of people are forced to flee the countryside – it is due to the collapse of the rural economy that people migrate and move to cities.

Terra Nuova therefore promotes collective rights, believing that the battle for rights is a means of transforming society as a whole.