ESCR-Net members and allies promote the rights of peasants, fishers and other rural peoples in UN negotiations

FIAN International, together with ESCR-Net members the World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP) and the Programme on Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (PWESCR), celebrate progress made toward promoting and defending the rights of peasants and other rural peoples in the international arena.

The above-mentioned ESCR-Net members, together with allied social movements representing male and female peasants, indigenous peoples, pastoralists, fishers and rural workers, gathered at the United Nations in Geneva from 15 to 19 May to attend the 4th session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group to negotiate a UN declaration for peasants and other people working in rural areas.

According to FIAN, the negotiations served to deepen an understanding of State parties vis-a-vis key human rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas and have contributed to an increased willingness, demonstrated by member States, to negotiate and recognize the interdependent rights of people living in rural parts of the world. “The right to land is about access, use and management of land, necessary for the realization of the rights to an adequate standard of living, to health and to participate in cultural life, as well as the right to be free from forced evictions or from contamination and destruction of water bodies and fisheries,” said FIAN.

This gathering is the most recent in a series of gatherings of social movements and NGOs concerned about human rights violations against small farmers, indigenous peoples, fisher folk and other groups working in rural areas, in hopes of strengthening international protections for said groups.

A joint statement by social movements and organizations during the session attested to the critical importance of this process for communities around the world.

According to the statement, for “peasants and other people working in rural areas, the relationship with Mother Earth, her territories and waters is the physical, cultural, and spiritual basis for our existence. We are obliged to maintain this relationship with Mother Earth for the survival of our future generations. We gladly assume our role as her guardians.”

Read more about the 4th session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group (OEIGWG) here.