Peasants fight for their rights within the United Nations (UN)

MEDIA ADVISORY

(Jakarta, 1 March 2011) La Via Campesina is a global peasants' movement consisting of 150 member organizations in 70 countries and representing over 200 million peasants and rural workers. For more than a decade we have been fighting for the recognition of our basic rights within the framework of the UN convention on human rights. These basic rights are detailed in La Via Campesina’s Declaration of the Rights of Peasants - Women and Men.

The current global food crisis which has forced more than 1 billion people to into hunger and malnutrition demands both a swift response and constructive international cooperation. Therefore, this is the right time to recognize and protect the peasants’ human rights—the ones who have been discriminated against and those whose rights have been violated over centuries.

The UN Human Rights Council mandated in its resolution 13/4 a preliminary study to be conducted by the Advisory Committee on ways and means to further advance the rights of people working in rural areas. In its 6th session, the Advisory Committee submitted to the UN Human Rights Council the preliminary study (to be issued as document A/HRC/16/63) on the advancement of the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.

The 16th session of the UN Human Rights Council (Geneva, March 1 to 31) will be an important occasion for peasants to fight for the member states’ agreement on this preliminary study. We will also respond to the current food crisis by proposing a fast-track to the recognition and protection of the rights of peasants. La Via Campesina will urge constructive measures on the rights of peasants and people working in rural areas within the council in its 16th session.

We will be making several representations, lobbying member states, presenting a seminar inside the UN and participating in the high level session. La Via Campesina leaders available in Geneva include: Henry Saragih (Indonesia), Yolanda Areas Blass (Nicaragua), Javier Sanchez (Spain), Renaldo Joao Chingore (Mozambique), Juana Ferrer (Republic of Dominica) and Mamadou Ba (Senegal).

Please find the schedule of activities and other references in the next page.

Contacts in Geneva: Valentina Hammeler Maiga (+41796721407), Celine Brun (+41792354676)

SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES

March 2, 2011

La Via Campesina, along with other civil society organizations, will participate in the High Level Segment – 16th session of UN Human Rights Council.

March 9, 2011

La Via Campesina, FIAN International, Centre Europe-Tiers Monde (CETIM) and Indonesian Human Rights Committee for Social Justice (IHCS) invite you to a conference-debate on “The need of increased protection of the human rights of peasants” that we organize during the 16th Session of the Human Rights Council; will be held Wednesday, March 9, between 10am and 12 noon, Palais des Nations, Room XXVII.

March 10-18, 2011

La Via Campesina, FIAN International, Centre Europe-Tiers Monde (CETIM) and Indonesian Human Rights Committee for Social Justice (IHCS) will be lobbying member states of the UN Human Rights Council on two studies submitted by the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee; entitled (1) Study on discrimination in the context of the right to food; and (2) Preliminary study on the advancement of the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas”. We have also scheduled oral intervention(s) in the session discussing the right to food.

March 11, 2011 (to be confirmed)

La Via Campesina and its Switzerland chapter Uniterre and L’autre Syndicate invite you to a seminar on global food crisis, food sovereignty, land grabbing and the rights of peasants. Venue TBA

Additional information