Manifest: Rights of peasants – a step ahead for the future of humanity

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2017-03-16-_rights.jpgSchwäbisch Hall, 13 March 2017

The International Congress on Peasants’ Rights, which took place from 7 to 10 March in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany, brought together close to one hundred peasants and representatives of food producers from all over the world,  along with the same diversity of human rights defenders and activists. The Congress concluded with the presentation of a Manifesto on the need for a Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, a text that was finalized with the contribution of the participants to the event. Below you can find the full text.

Almost 500 years ago, growing encroachments on peasants’ common lands by princes and churches led to rural uprisings in Southern Germany and to the drafting of the peasants’ “Twelve Articles”. This document represents the first record of demands for human rights and liberties in Europe, and included the right to equal access to lands, forests and fishing grounds. Although the feudal lords brutally crushed this revolt, peasants kept resisting and showing that the feudal nobility hadn’t defeated them. History shows that when peasants are rolled back in one place they reappear in another one. Peasant revolts are still on-going!

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"The need for a UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants is more urgent than ever"

2017-03-15 P Rights Congress 1.JPGReport from the Global Peasants’ Rights Congress  from 7-10 March 2017 in Schäbisch Hall, Germany

Honoring International Women’s Day, an international delegation of women kicked off the Global Peasants’ Rights Congress last Wednesday, held in the rural region of Schwäbisch Hall, Germany, with a mystica.

In the opening of the event, Elizabeth Mpofu, General Secretary of La Via Campesina reaffirmed that “the need for a UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants is more urgent than ever.” Peasants around the world “promote a model based on Food Sovereignty and support agroecological peasant agriculture as a solution to food, climate and social crisis. In championing the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, she argued, humanity also wins.” 

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Moving towards a UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People Working in Rural Areas

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2017-03-09-Elizabeth_P_Rights.jpgOpening speech by Elizabeth Mpofu (General Secretary of La Via Campesina) of the Peasants’ Rights Congress in Schwabisch Hall, Germany on March 8

The need for a UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People Working in Rural Areas is all the more urgent and evident in the 21st century. Despite years of campaigning for a better recognition and protection of the rights of peasants, displacements and criminalization continue affecting hundreds of thousands of peasants globally.

Hunger and malnutrition, unemployment and poverty all have something in common; they are more prevalent in rural areas and the countryside. Because of this, most people coming from the countryside, have been exploited (policies forced upon them with limited consultation and participation), dispossessed, displaced, criminalized, brutally treated by those in power and the rich, sometimes taken to court and/or killed for defending their rights related to natural resources, values and culture. Such injustices in most cases have gone unpunished or reported. Laws or political concepts have been made to sanitize and sanctify social injustices. The future UN declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas will contribute to solve these problems by recognizing rights to land, water, seeds and other natural resources and stressing the importance of improving access to productive resources and investment in appropriate rural development. This will be a milestone for peasants and rural people all over the world.

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Bharatiya Kisan Union demand compensation for land acquired for Kanpur thermal power plant

2016-03-02 Tikait.jpg

They also demanded that farmers arrested from the protest site be immediately released.

Kanpur, India: Since 21 November 2016, farmers in Lahurmau village of Kanpur, whose lands were acquired to build a Nyveli-owned thermal power plant, have been staging an indefinite strike by the banks of Yamuna river. 

These farmers from neighbouring eight villages allege that the construction at the site have already begun even before they have received compensations for their lost land and livelihoods. Nearly 1850 farmers in these villages are directly affected by the power project.

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