13th Session of the Human Right Council: “Ending the discrimination against peasants”

*Mr. President,

I am Henry Saragih, general coordinator of La Via Campesina. La Via Campesina is a global movement gathering peasants organisations from 70 countries from around the globe including in Senegal, India, Switzerland, France, Spain, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, Mali. We have about 200 millions member actively participating in La Via Campesina.

On behalf of La Via Campesina and the CETIM, I am coming here in the 13th session of the UN Human Rights Council to congratulate the work of UN human rights body, especially the Advisory Committee on establishing the groundwork of promotion and protection of rights of peasants. The fourth session of the Advisory Committee delivered the report (A/HRC/AC/4/2) and recommendations which set a standard of non-discrimination against peasants, particularly rural women, and other people living in rural areas, including those engaged in traditional fishing, hunting, and herding activities.

La Via Campesina urges the UN Human Rights Council, particularly the honorable member states, to carry the result of the Advisory Committee into
further steps in the council. I believe that you are all aware how urgent for all of us it is to end all discriminations against peasants, and to
develop a wide cooperation for positive measures.

Hunger is mainly affecting rural areas where peasants, small landholders, landless workers, fisherfolk, hunters and gatherers suffer disproportionately. The United Nations Millennium Development Project Task Force on Hunger has shown that 80 percent of the world’s hungry live in rural areas. Some 50 per cent of the world’s hungry are smallholder farmers who depend mainly or partly on agriculture for their livelihoods, but lack sufficient access to productive resources.

I call attention to you, honorable delegates, to put the study of the Advisory Committee into practice. We also aske you for the acknowledgement of the work of the Advisory Committee, including for the continuation of their work. In this light, we also ask the Human Rights Council for the extension of work of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.

I believe that we all would carry on developing a worldwide cooperation to end any discrimination against peasants.

I thank you.

16 March 2010