In this article, ECVC recaps the events that took place last week as part of the work on the peasants' rights declaration. The article also highlights some of the key dates.
The Peasants Rights process is gaining strong momentum in Europe and worldwide Last week was busy with events, bilateral meetings, parliamentary reunions, communication, preparation, all building the final stage of the process for the adoption of the ‘United Nations Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas’. We are proud to mention several of them and to announce the calendar of the next events: Geneva, 19-23 March – the Human Rights Council: During the 37th Session of the Human Rights Council , a delegation of La Via Campesina (LVC), came to Geneva to advocate for the Declaration. Together with allies from FIAN and CETIM and the support of the diplomatic mission of Bolivia, we organized a side event , inviting all countries present at the Council session. The event was organized in Palais des Nations on March 20th, and it was entitled ‘Towards the adoption of the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas : Ways of making the added value of this key instrument a reality for all’. The spokespersons of La Via Campesina urged countries to join efforts and adopt the declaration this year: ‘This Declaration reinforces the legitimacy of our demands and makes visible our social, cultural and political values. It recognizes our enormous contribution to the well-being of society, whether through the provision of nutritious food or the development of biodiversity and the protection of the environment. It contributes to the emancipation of women. It takes into account the importance of intergenerational thinking and the transmission of knowledge in rural areas. In the end, it recognizes that our collective future, and the very future of humanity, is tied to the rights of peasants and other people who work in rural areas. We call on the governments of the world to engage seriously in this process. We particularly call on African governments to spare no effort in adopting the declaration.’ declared Ndiakhate Fall, Via Campesina representative from Senegal . ‘We would like to congratulate Europe, Western and Eastern Europe alike, for coming so far and for going so deep into the process with comments and analysis, showing that our region needs a Declaration that is appropriate for the dozens of millions of European peasants and rural workers. We need to put this proliferation of human rights violations to the past, where they belong. The strong participation of Europe in this unique process of achieving a Declaration for the Rights of Peasants and other people working in rural areas, shows that Europe understands the need for this Declaration and that Europe wants to support the rights of the most vulnerable people in rural areas, and move from constructive participation approach to a supportive approach.’ added Ramona Duminicioiu, Via Campesina representative from Romania. ‘There are many actions that communities and social organizations could develop to request the rapid and effective implementation of the instrument. I can mention now; the negotiations with the respective governments, the parliamentary lobby, the dissemination of the content of the declaration, the implementation of demonstrative experiences with which the goodness and social benefits of the implementation of a development model based on the principles contained in the declaration and of course social mobilization. Governments already have legal and constitutional instruments that would allow them to implement the declaration once adopted and promulgated by the United Nations.’ continued Huber Ballesteros, Via Campesina representative from Colombia. ‘They key is that this Declaration will recognize our work and it will build up our dignity. Peasants of the world will no longer be the underdog. We are not a burden of our society, we are it’s strength that has been feeding the world and will continue to do so. Is time that our contribution to the society to be forcefully defended. We kindly ask for the support of all the countries in making sure that peasant agriculture lasts long into the future and our rights are officially recognized by adopting the Declaration this year.’ concluded Henry Saragih, Via Campesina representative from Asia. Berlin, 22 March – the German Parliament: A large alliance of supporting organizations following the lead of the German Via Campesina member organization - der Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft (AbL), organized an event in the German Parliament, inviting all it’s members to take part in the dialogue about the Declaration on the rights of peasants. La Via Campesina was represented by Paula Gioia from Germany and Henry Saragih from Indonesia. The event enjoyed a very high participation of parliamentarians who received up-dates about the progress made in Geneva about he content of the Declaration. Also, the event offered the opportunity to discuss the preparations of Germany and the EU articulation for the last round of negotiations that is expected to take place from the 9th to the 13th of April 2018 in Geneva.  Geneva, 22 March – the Human Rights Council - the peace process in Colombia: During the plenary of the Human Rights Council, 2 representatives of La Via Campesina, Huber Ballesteros from Colombia and Philippe Sauvain from Switzerland, took the floor to address the assembly about the problems encountered in the implementation of the Peace Agreement in Colombia, particularly regarding point 1 – the Agrarian Reform. ‘We urge the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights to guarantee the application of the peace agreements in Colombia, with all the necessary energy. It is necessary <to consolidate the integral and effective presence in rural areas>, prioritizing structural changes that address the deep historical causes of the armed conflict: the land problem, poverty and the historical exclusion of these areas.’ stated Philippe Sauvain, member of La Via Campesina from Switzerland. ---------------------------------- Notes: 1. The 37th Session of the Human Rights Council. 2. Program of the side event ‘Towards the adoption of the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas : Ways of making the added value of this key instrument a reality for all’, March 20th, Geneva. 3. Ndiakhate Fall’s full statement (in French) – Via Campesina Africa 4. Huber Ballesteros’ full statement (in Spanish) – Via Campesina Latin America 5. Ramona Duminicioiu’s full statement (in English) – Via Campesina Europe 6. Program of the Parliamentary event in Berlin - Germany, 22 March 7. Philippe Sauvain’s full statement (in Spanish) about the problems if the Peace Process in Colombia
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