- Published on Tuesday, 27 September 2016 20:13
Human Rights Council, 33rd Session, Item 5 – Human Rights bodies and mechanisms – General Debate on the Report of IGWG on rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas (A/HRC/33/59)
Chair-Rapporteur of the Open ended Working Group,
Delegates and Colleagues,
I am Elizabeth Mpofu, the International Coordinator of La Via Campesina.
Together with International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), we would like to strengthen further our commitment to the establishment of the draft declaration on peasant's rights, as I want to remind us on following:
The term Peasant that we want is inclusive is as defined in Article 1 and its meaning signifies a special relationship of peasants with land which defines their social and economic rights political identity, including also their cultural and religious life in rural areas. Moreover, their rights are unique and require recognition and urgent protection in the current context “of the need to feed 9 billion people by 2050”. This definition is to develop a protection for the very group which contribute greatly to the realisation of right to food around the world, whilst they still have to face prejudices and direct discrimination caused by wider grab of natural resources and of biodiversity. Moreover, the peasants’ contributions to the rich and diverse seed go unrecognised.
- Published on Friday, 23 September 2016 16:47
(Geneva, September 22, 2016) This week, representatives of La Via Campesina and supporting organizations (FIAN, CETIM, CELS and IADL) are at the United Nations Human Rights Council of Geneva, in order to lobby for the Declaration of the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas.
At the top of the agenda: increasing support for the report of the President of the Working Group on Peasant’s Rights and Other People Working in Rural Areas, Bolivian Ambassador Nardi Suxo.
During her report, the Ambassador highlighted the importance of this Declaration not only for peasants themselves, but also as a tool to improve overall socio-economic conditions. To this end, she stated that adoption of the Declaration would help the 2030 Agenda reach its objectives. During her presentation, Ambassador Suxo reaffirmed the need to protect and promote food sovereignty in rural areas. In order to do this, the full integration of peasants’ proposals (such as the promotion of small-scale agriculture) and the recognition of states’ obligations with regard to peasants’ fundamental rights are needed. Moreover, the Ambassador underscored the need to adopt new rights that could work as an effective shield for peasants’ rights and the recognition of the role of peasants in combatting climate change and protecting biodiversity. The Bolivian Ambassador will continue to work to generate synergies between governments, peasants’ organizations and civil society. This cooperation is fundamental to overcome the situation of discrimination currently faced by global peasantry.
- Published on Wednesday, 21 September 2016 14:36
October 8th & 9th 2016
For over 50 years, farmers and locals have resisted the building of a new airport for the French city of Nantes (which by the way already has one). Now in these rich fields, forests and wetlands, which multinational Vinci want to cover in concrete, an experiment in reinventing everyday life in struggle is blossoming. Radicals from around the world, local farmers and villagers, citizen groups, trade unionists and naturalists, refugees and runaways, squatters and climate justice activists and many others, are organising to protect the 4000 acres of land against the airport and its world. Government officials have coined this place "a territory lost to the republic". Its occupants have named it: la zad (zone a défendre) zone to defend.
In the winter of 2012, thousands of riot police attempted to evict the zone, but they faced a determined and diverse resistance. This culminated in a 40,000 people strong demonstration to rebuild some of what had been destroyed by the French State. Less than a week later, the police was forced to stop what they called "Operation Cesar". For the last three years, the zad has been an extraordinary laboratory of new ways of living, rooted in collaborations between all those who make up the diversity of this movement. There is even a set of 6 points (see below) to radically rethink how to organise and work the land without an airport, based on the creation of commons, the notion of usage rather than property and the demand that those who fought for the land are those who decide its use.
- Published on Tuesday, 20 September 2016 19:15
How to attribute important social change to agroecology? Elizabeth Mpofu argues that agroecology builds social cohesion, providing the foundation for gender equality.
There are no recipes in agroecology. Instead, its manual is in the heart and minds of those who practice it, which is evident in their interactions with the environment and other people. Harmony with nature and nutrition takes precedence over profits. This anchors our culture, shapes our identity and sets the parameters for our transformation as a society.
Personally agroecology has enabled me to learn from other women and to promote and create awareness about women’s issues. Through agroecology, women have contributed to shaping a society and healthy communities based on justice and solidarity. This society is able to withstand and adapt to an ever changing environment – socially, politically and economically.