Via Campesina at the Human Rights Council

Presentations by Panellists in Discussion on Realization of the Right to Food


Presentation by Paul Nicholson
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PAUL NICHOLSON, of La Via Campesina, said this was an important opportunity to place the realization of the right to food, to be a fisher, a farmer and a herder, in the context of human rights, and not just in the context of the global economic chain. The causes of the crisis showed that 70 per cent of hunger was rural, and was primarily due to the export and industrial modes of production, and the privatization of market control, which were instruments that multinational corporations controlled leaving prices in speculative hands, and resulting in a high price for the consumer. Ongoing destruction of local food production was a consequence of neo-liberal policies forced upon countries through the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, in particular, policies that promoted the import of cheap food and the privatization of natural resources. Those policies were driven at the global level which had direct consequences at the local level. Transnational corporations took over the land and imposed industrial food and agro-fuel production, expelling peasants from their land, turning them into slum dwellers and exploiting workers on transnational plantations.

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European Coordination Via Campesina supports Çiftçi-Sen

and denounces the lack of union liberty in Turkey

On December 2nd, the Farmer Union Confederation Çiftçi-Sen, member of the European Coordination Via Campesina is facing a law suit where the legality of the Confederation is at stake.

The governorship of Ankara is demanding the closure of the Confederation on the basis that there are no domestic legal arrangements allowing for farmers to establish unions.

The Turkish Republic has failed to bring domestic law in concordance with the international agreements it has ratified, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the ILO Convention concerning freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise. However, international treaties prevail over domestic laws and therefore this law suit has no legal justification.

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Call to action on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 Dec 2008

We, peasants of the world demand our own convention!
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) turns 60 on the 10th of December 2008. As the declaration represents the worldwide expression of the rights which all human beings are inherently entitled to, it is important for the peasants to also commemorate this occasion.

Peassants represent almost half of the population on earth and we are the basis of the world's food system. We are working hard to fill people's plates every day—but we face the hard reality of the food, energy, climate and financial crises. Thoses crises also create massive and systematic violations of the rights of the peasants.

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Global Campaign on the International Convention on the Rights of the Peasants


The struggle of upholding the rights of the peasants in La Via Campesina began 7 years ago. Since 2001, we have been working on the institutionalization of the rights of the peasants into the international human rights system. This initiative was reiterated in and by the La Via Campesina International Conference on Peasant Rights, 19-25 June 2008. This was a big momentum, as in this conference, member and allies of La Via Campesina, human rights activists and academics developed a global step for the institutionalization of rights. The conference delivered both the declaration of the conference and the text declaration of the Rights of Peasants and its annex which consist of all considerations, and development of and for the institutionalization of the rights.

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