Defending Peasants' Rights

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Photographer Daniel Alfonso León
Photographer: © Daniel Alfonso León, Colombia 2009

This 17th of April, on the occasion of the International Day of Peasants’ Struggle, VIA Campesina, FIAN International and CETIM invite organizations and individuals to contribute to “Defending Peasant rights’, a blog that raises visibility over the increasing body of knowledge for the defense of the rights of peasants, male and female, worldwide. It is a space to gather different types of resource materials such as: declarations, documents and studies claiming peasants’ rights; existing constitutional rights, national laws and policies; rulings of courts protecting peasants’ rights; legal expert opinions and academic works; and UN treaties, declarations, principles and guidelines recognizing peasants’ rights.

The blog is available in English, Spanish and French. We are making an open call to organizations and individuals around the globe to send us any of the documents enlisted above that will contribute to complementing the body of knowledge for the defense of peasants’ rights. All materials will continue to be published in their original language in the respective blog and can be used as long as the source is mentioned. We hope that these materials will be useful for grassroots and social organizations, NGOs, scholars and journalists, for the defense of peasants’ rights on the ground, as well as for legislative and policy making processes at national and international level.

All entries in English, Spanish and French or questions regarding the content of such, can be emailed to

Convention on Access to Information Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters

The Aarhus Convention was adopted in 1998 at the Fourth Ministerial Conference in the ‘Environment for Europe’ process. As of 16 January 2015 there were 47 Parties to the Convention.


The aim of the Convention is to contribute to the protection of the right of every person of present and future generations to live in an environment adequate to his or her health and well-being. Each Party to the Convention is called on to guarantee the rights of access to information, public participation in decision-making, and access to justice in environmental matters.

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity

The objective of the The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity is to contribute to ensure an adequate level of protection in the field of the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health, and specifically focusing on transboundary movement.

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants was signed in 2001 with the objective of protecting human health and the environment from chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife, and have harmful impacts on human health or on the environment.

International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) was adopted on November 3 2001 by the Thirty-First Session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. The aim of this treaty is to establish a global system that provides farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials, and ensure that recipients share benefits that derive from the use of these genetic materials. The ITPGRFA also recognizes the contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops that feed the world.

Human Rights Council Resolution on The Right to Food


On April 2011, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution reaffirming that ‘hunger constitutes an outrage and a violation of human dignity and therefore requires the adoption of urgent measures at the national, regional and international levels for its elimination’.

The HRC resolution manifests concern on the following issues: discrimination in the context of the right to food; ways and means to further advance the rights of people working rural areas; the relationship between severe malnutrition and childhood diseases; urban poor an their enjoyment of the rights to food; and rural women and their enjoyment of the right to food.
Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council 16 27 on the Right to Food

UN General Assembly resolution on the human right to water and sanitation

On July 2010, the UN General Assembly recognized the human right to water and sanitation while also acknowledging the importance of its”equitable access” and their essential role in the realisation of all human rights.


Moreover, States and international organizations were called upon to provide financial resources, capacity-building and technology transfer, through international assistance and cooperation, in particular to developing countries,to scale up efforts to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all.

Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 28 July 2010 The human right to water and sanitation

UN General Assembly resolution on the International Year of Family Farming


On March 2012, the UN General Assembly decided to declare the year 2014, the International Year of Family Farming. This UN resolution affirms that family farming and smallholder farming are an important basis for sustainable food production aimed at achieving food security and encouraged States in this respect, to undertake activities within their respective national development programmes. International Year of Family Farming, 2014

Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity

International agreement created with the aim of sharing the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way. Entered into force on 12 October 2014. Nagoya Protocol

La Via Campesina welcomes the UN Human Rights Council move to challenge corporate impunity

La Via Campesina Press Release

(Switzerland, Geneva, June 27, 2014) La Via Campesina welcomes the resolution approved at the UN Human Rights Council to draw up a binding treaty to punish the crimes of transnational companies (TNC’s). “This is a victory for peasants, who in most cases are unable to access legal systems to take actions against the impunity of TNCs. Also, looking at the current agricultural activities that have been captured by multinational companies, the instrument will be a great tool for the victims to file cases against land-grabbing by TNCs. We thank the initiating countries and the countries that voted in favour.” said Themba Chauke from the South African Landless Peoples Movement, a member of La Via Campesina.

Violence, evictions, intimidation, the criminalisation of struggles as well as assassinations of farmers who are defending their livelihood, their land and their communities have become common practice used by agribusiness, TNCs, local elites and governments. This violence is linked to the privatization of nature, the concentration of land and the increased corporate control of the food chain. (more…)