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.

In this glorious opportunity of our V International Conference of La Via Campesina, we would like to present that the struggle on upholding the rights of the peasants continues! The struggle will be applied in our daily work through a global campaign, it will also be incorporated to La Via Campesina's strategic action plan in the coming years.

This initiative would be very important in addressing the all forms of violations of rights of the peasants. Those violation, among other, are expropiation from lands and alienation from sources of livelihoods; the processes of privatization of land, which have led to a re-concentration of land ownership; the dismantling of rural public services; the fostering of highly capitalized and high-inputs agro-exportation; the push toward the liberalization of agricultural trade and toward policies of food security based on international commerce; the commercialization of life—especially the seeds—as the creation and the world-wide-selling of the GMOs which led to the loss of many species and no-access to life and the seeds; the double marginalization suffered by women, as peasants anad as women; the violent oppression and peasants criminalization— as thousands of peasant leaders are being criminalized fighting for their rights.

This global campaign will also be useful in context of an effort of tackling the current crises, and as a form of challenging the current neo-liberal system and to raise alternative from the peasants organisation. This global campaign will also be a massive way to promote our goal on the initiative towards the ICPR.

The text declaration

The text of the declaration was adopted by La Via Campesina International Conference on the rights of the peasants 19-25 June 2008. As of now, the text was put into the mechanism of UN human rights body, starting with the Advisory Committee of UN Human Rights Council. “The Advisory requested the Council, at its next session, to approve the preparation of studies on hunger refugees and the rights of peasants, so that the Advisory Committee may subsequently appoint experts to conduct such studies and determine the timetable for their realization”.

The text set the declaration on the rights of the peasants as follow:

  1. Definition of rights of peasants in which the rights holder is defined, how the adoption would address the violation, and how to develop sustainable protection of rights, including the remedial measures.

  2. The explanation of persisting and emerging violation of rights of peasants

  3. The body text of declaration defines:

    1. Peasants as the rights holder

    2. Definition of the rights

    3. Right to life and right to adequate standard of living

    4. Right to agrarian resources

    5. Right to seeds and traditional agricultural knowledge

    6. Right to capital and means of agricultural production

    7. Right to information and agricultural production

    8. Right to the protection of agriculture values

    9. Right to biological diversity

    10. Right to environmental preservation

    11. Freedom of association, opinion, and expression

    12. Right to have access to justice

Strategies and means of campaigns

For that purpose, we commit ourselves to develop a multi-level strategy working simultaneously at the national, regional and international level for raising awareness, mobilizing support and building alliances with not only peasants, but rural workers, pastoralists, indigenous peoples, fisher folks, environmentalists, women, legal experts, human rights, youth, faith-based, urban and consumers organizations as well.

The global campaign will also work throughout national governments, because the UN system works through the governments, and the governments should walk side-by-side with the peasants to uphold the rights of the peasants.

In the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on Dec. 10, 2008, we call all our members and networks to rallying for the initiative towards the ICRP. We will also broaden the campaign in national, regional, and international level in the coming years in order to build high credibility on this initiative.

Globalize the struggle! Globalize hope!