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UN negotiations decisive for rural world’s future

The fourth session of the UN intergovernmental working group on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas kicks off today.

The Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group (OEIWG) on a UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas meets again this week in Geneva. Negotiations are expected to get even more challenging this time, as discussions will touch upon “contentious” issues, such as the right to food, land and seeds, as well as collective rights, amongst others.

Although the States’ support to the process has increased in the last years, some countries are still reluctant to engage in the negotiations and have expressed opposing views when it comes to crucial human rights of peasants. With this background in mind, the fourth session of the working group will be decisive. State support to small-scale farmers, fishing communities and local enterprises is a key element in food security: currently nearly 500 million small-scale farms feed 2 billion people (a third of humanity). In addition, the adoption of this instrument could also lead to a positive development in international human rights law, as 80% of the hungry live in rural areas and 50% of these are small-scale producers.

The third meeting of the intergovernmental working group was held in May 2016. Governments, social movements and civil society organizations (CSOs) contributed to the session with their proposals. They took this opportunity to point to those aspects that constitute the backbone of the Declaration, namely: the right to land, the right to seeds, the right to biodiversity, the right to food, the right to the means of production, the rights of rural women, the obligations of States and access to justice for victims. Those articles will indeed be subject of discussion in this week’s session.

The process for a declaration of peasant rights has been a long journey for the rural world and social movements the world over. The OEIWG was created in September 2012 by Resolution 21/19, as a result of advocacy work by La Via Campesina and a long list of supporting organizations throughout more than 15 years. This year’s session may determine the future of those who feed the vast majority of the world’s population (with healthy and real food).

For media enquiries, please contact Read the latest analytical briefings on State obligations and decent income and livelihood to feed into the negotiations.

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FIAN International’s contributions to the session will be uploaded on this page in the coming days

May 15
FIAN International and CELS statement - Read statement (EN)
FIAN International statement on Article 1 (on collective rights) - Read statement (ES)

May 16
FIAN International statement on Article 2 (on extraterritorial obligations and right to free, prior and informed consultations) - Read the statement (EN)
FIAN Burkina statement on Artcle 4 (on rural women) -Read the statement (FR)
FIAN International and CELS statement on Article 7 (on free movement) - Read the statement (ES)
FIAN Nepal statement on Artcile 11 (on the right to information) - Read the statement (EN)
FIAN International statement on Artcile 12 (on access to justice) - Read the statement (ES)

May 17
FIAN International statement on Artcile 15 (on the right to food) - Read the statement (ES)
FIAN Belgium statement on Artcile 16 (on income) - Read the statement (FR)
FIAN International statement on Article 17 (on the right to land vis-a-vis collective rights) - Read the statement (ES)
FIAN Belgium statement on Artcile 17 (on the right to land) - Read the statement (FR)


May 18
FIAN International statement on Article 19 (on the right to seeds) - Read the statement (EN)
FIAN Nepal statement on Article 22 (on the right to social security) - Read the statement (EN) 
FIAN Burkina statement on Article 24 (on the right to housing) - Read the statement (FR)
FIAN International on preamble - Read the statement (ES)