A victory on our path to an international declaration on the rights of peasants

Press release - La Via Campesina

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_Part_1.2.2.png(Switzerland, Geneva, June 27, 2014) On June 27th, the United Nations Human Rights Council Assembly passed a resolution authorising the continuation of the process of drafting an international declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas. Bolivia is in charge of starting up informal consultations between States and civil society as well as organising the second session of of the Intergovernmental Open-Ended Working Group, which is scheduled to take place in November 2014.

The declaration project originated with the Via Campesina, and it is the fruit of ten years of work on the part of this international movement which is comprised of more than 164 organisations in 73 countries. The Via Campesina set itself the task of categorising the forms of discrimination suffered by people working in rural areas (peasants, agricultural workers, nomads and pastoralists, fishers, indigenous peoples, landless workers, etc.) and, with the support of organisations such as FIAN-international and CETIM (the Europe-Third World Centre), of defining the specific human rights applicable to their situation.

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The struggle for freedom and food sovereignty: a letter of solidarity to the farmers of Syria

On the 14-17th of August 2014 a gathering of 15 peasants and activists from Syria took place in Lebanon.  They  work together in the “15th Garden” to maintain  production of vegetables even during the conflict. Some had a very difficult journey to the seminar and many were not  even able to come due to the difficult situation in Syria. In the workshop there were also people from two refugee camps in Lebanon.

Given that due to the intense national conflict people in Syria  are starving, the seeds that reach them through this network mean a great deal  to them. In the places where seeds have been sent , they have already been growing food. Seeds are one of the most basic needs to produce food and are not accessible in many areas in Syria.

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Indonesia: SPI Condemns Violence Towards Peasants, in Rembang, East Java

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_rembang2.JPG(Indonesia, JAKARTA, June 26, 2014). Indonesia has witnessed scenes of violence against peasants once again. This time it was connected with plans to build a cement factory on agricultural land, and took place on the 16th June 2014 in the Kendeng Mountains near Rembang in Central Java. Police and military officers were brutal in their treatment of hundreds of villagers, mostly women. Some of the women were even thrown out of the way by the officers, who considered them to be disrupting or blocking the access road to a ceremony marking the start of the building of a cement factory by Semen Indonesia, which is planned to occupy 55 hectares of land in the Gunem sub-district of Rembang. This violence was clearly contrary to religious teachings, cultural values and human rights.

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Open call: Join Week of Mobilization to Stop Corporate Crimes and Impunity at the UNHRC

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_semainegeneveen.jpg(Switzerland, Geneva) In June 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will discuss the adoption of a resolution to establish a legally binding instrument to enforce binding rules regarding human rights and Transnational Corporations (TNCs). As a result of ongoing violations of human rights by TNCs such as the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh that killed 1,132 factory (mostly female) workers, the 2012 Marikana massacre of 34 miners in South Africa, the ongoing destruction caused by Shell in Nigeria’s Ogoniland and by Chevron in the Ecuadorean Amazon as well as the human rights violations linked to the Cerrejon Coal mine in Colombia – along with countless others – the need for radical action to control the devastating violations by TNCs has never been more urgent.

In order to push the UNHRC to adopt this type of binding Treaty, a coalition of social movements, networks and civil society organizations is organizing a full week of mobilization. Download call here


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