Honduras: Extreme violence against peasant communities in Bajo Aguán

The Bajo Aguán valley is witnessing an alarming situation of violence and repression against peasant communities: between January 2010 and early October 2011, 40 people involved in peasant organizations in the region were murdered. For several years, approximately 3,500 peasant families have claimed their right to food and access to agricultural lands in an environment infused with rural conflicts with the principal palm oil producers in the region. National and international human rights organizations have monitored the situation and concluded that the peasant communities are completely defenseless and unprotected against the authorities´ actions and omissions. Testimonies from the victims, their families and witnesses point to the private and public security forces as those responsible for the deaths, torture, threats and harassment of the peasant communities.

Attached, you find the word version of the Urgent Action, as well as a Petition format, where many signatures are gathered collectively, and you as respective SCC would send this list of signatures to the recipients of the Urgent Action.

Peasants need a new instrument to protect their human rights

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The 7th session of UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee is commencing from 8 to 12 August 2011.

Among the participants are delegations from La Via Campesina, who are fighting for an initiative towards an international convention of the rights of peasants.

La Via Campesina, Foodfirst International Action Network (FIAN) and Centre Europe – Tiers Monde (CETIM) organize a side event to the 7th session on Tuesday (9/8). Participants from member of the advisory committee, States, experts and NGOs discuss the initiative and how to increase the legal protection of peasants and other people working in rural areas.

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Oral Intervention 7th session of UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee

7th session of UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee

8-12 August 2011

Right to food

Oral intervention by Muhammad Ikhwan of La Via Campesina, the International Peasant Movement

On behalf of Foodfirst International Action Network (FIAN)

Mr. /Mrs. President,

FIAN International and La Via Campesina would like to commend the Advisory Committee for its preliminary study on the advancement of the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas. In the light of growing conflicts over land and water and the food price and climate crisis, there is an urgent need to step up efforts to effectively protect the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.

We are witnessing a dramatic new wave in land grabbing. At least 50 million hectares of agricultural land have been transferred to corporations only in the last few years alone, and each day more investors are joining the rush.

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Intervention, UN Human Rights Council, 16th session, March 15, 2011

Mr. President,

FIAN International and La Via Campesina would like to commend the Advisory Committee for its two studies on discrimination in the context of the right to food and preliminary study of “The advancement of the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas” (A/HRC/AC/6/3, recommendation 6/5) presented for the consideration of  the Human Rights Council in its 16th session.. These reports represent a major contribution to address the global food crisis. We are witnessing the record of about 1 billion people worldwide suffering undernourishment; 75 per cent of them are smallholder farmers and landless who depend mainly or partly on agriculture for their livelihoods, but lack sufficient access to productive resources. We are deeply convinced that as a long term measure to overcome hunger it is necessary to better define the needs for specific entitlements of peasants as one of the most vulnerable group to violations of human rights in general and to the right to adequate food; to identify potential gaps in the protection of these rights and entitlements; and to present proposals to address these gaps.

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