United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants
This article's lead section may be too short to adequately summarize the key points. (April 2022)
|UN General Assembly|
|Date||17 December 2018|
|Meeting no.||55th meeting|
|UN GA Third Committee L.30|
|Date||19 November 2018|
|Meeting no.||53rd meeting|
|UN Human Rights Council HRC/39/12|
|Date||28 September 2018|
|Meeting no.||40th meeting|
The Declaration on the Rights of Peasants (UNDROP), officially United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, is an UNGA resolution on Human rights with "universal understanding", adopted by the United Nations in 2018.
In 2008, the Declaration of Rights of Peasants – Women and Men was launched by la Via Campesina which, with support from other civil society organisations, presented it to the United Nations' Human Rights Council.
The text was then used as a basis from 2009 to 2019 to negotiate the text of the final UNDROP Declaration. The negotiations were supported by civil society groups such as La Via Campesina, FIAN International, or the Europe–Third World Centre (CETIM), but also by academics such as the Peasants Rights group of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, and several UN Special Rapporteurs.
The concept of peasants' rights build over the farmers' rights recognized, among others, in FAO's Plant Treaty and in the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Negotiations of the text
Before the negotiations started
The negotiations, initially led by Bolivia, were initiated by the UN Human Rights Council and ultimately adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.
Human Rights Council
On 28 September 2018, draft resolution A/HRC/39/L.16 was presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council, supported by Algeria, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Egypt, Haiti, Kenya, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Philippines, South Africa, Togo, Venezuela and the State of Palestine.
It was subsequently adopted with 33 votes in favour, 11 abstentions (Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain) and 3 against (Australia, Hungary and the United Kingdom) as HRC Resolution 39/12
General Assembly's Third Committee
On 24 October, the UN General Assembly's Third Committee held an open-ended intergovernmental working group was held to discuss the draft UNDROP, where comments were made by the representatives of Bolivia, Indonesia, the European Union, Cuba and South Africa. The draft Resolution (A/C.3/73/L.30) was presented to the UN General Assembly's Third Committee on 8 November by the representative of Bolivia with co-sponsor from Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Portugal, South Africa and Venezuela.
On 19 November, the draft gained support from Benin, the Central African Republic, Chad, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Eritrea, Guinea, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was subsequently submitted to vote, which result was positive: with 119 votes in favour, 7 votes against (Australia, Hungary, Israel, New Zealand, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America) and 49 abstentions
General Assembly 73rd Plenary Session
At its 55th plenary meeting on 17 December 2018, the Seventy-third session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted its Resolution 73/165, containing the UNDROP as an annex, and which introduction reads:
The General Assembly,
Welcoming the adoption by the Human Rights Council, in its resolution 39/12 of 28 September 2018,1 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas,
- Adopts the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, as contained in the annex to the present resolution;
- Invites Governments, agencies and organizations of the United Nations system and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to disseminate the Declaration and to promote universal respect and understanding thereof;
- Requests the Secretary-General to include the text of the Declaration in the next edition of Human Rights: A Compilation of International Instruments.
Before the adoption, the representative of Switzerland (one of the few non-developing countries that votes favourably) declared about the UNDROP that it "seeks to summarize the rights of peasants in a single document in order to better raise awareness about their situation. It is a very important political signal."
The countries that voted in favour were Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brunei, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, São Tomé and Príncipe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Notably, Australia, Guatemala, Hungary, Israel, New Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States voted against the Declaration.
The countries that abstained were Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Palau, Poland, South Korea, Romania, Russia, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, and Vanuatu.
|Rights by beneficiary|
|Other groups of rights|
The preamble recalls a series of Human Rights instruments, in particular:
- the Charter of the United Nations,
- the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
- the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,
- the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
- the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,
- the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,
- the Convention on the Rights of the Child,
- the International Convention on the Rights of Migrants,
- relevant conventions of the International Labour Organization,
- the Declaration on the Right to Development,
- the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,
It also mentions the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as relevant international law, such as:
- the Plant Treaty (ITPGRFA),
- the Convention on Biological Diversity
- and its Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Use,
- FAO's Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security,
- FAO's Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication
- FAO's Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security,
Article 1, 2, 27 and 28: general provisions
Article 1 defines basic concepts, Articles 2 and 28 focus on the general obligations of countries, and Article 27 lists the responsibility of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations.
Article 3: equality
Article 3 introduces the concept of equality and non-discrimination among peasants and other people working in rural areas.
Article 4: women
Article 4 recalls the major role of women in rural agricultural settings, and calls for zero discrimination against women, sound gender balance, and women's participation and involvement at all levels.
Articles 5 and 18: right to nature
Article 5 focuses on the right for peasants to access natural resources, including genetic resources, and to enjoy the means for development, and in particular sustainable development. Article 18 complements it by granting the specific rights to a clean, safe, and healthy environment for all people working and living in rural areas.
Articles 6, 7, 8 and 9: liberties and civil and political rights
This part of the Declaration addresses the Right to Life, security of persons but also the Freedom of Movement, freedom of thought, opinion and expression, as well as the freedom of Association
Article 10, 11 and 12: justice
Article 10, 11 and 12 focus on the Right to Participation, the Right to Information, and the Right to Justice, including access to justice, fair treatment, as well as right to a remedy and reparation in case of violations of the peasants' rights.
Article 13, 14 and 16: labor rights
These two articles address the right to work and the right to work in a safe and healthy environment, with appropriate labour conditions. Article 16 is complementary, and focuses on the right to a decent income, on the right to choose and maintain one's livelihood, and the means of production chosen.
Article 15: food sovereignty
Article 15 explores one of the main asks of peasants movements through the years: the right to food, food security and food sovereignty.
Article 17: right to land
Article 19: right to seeds
Article 20: right to biodiversity
Article 21: right to water and clean water systems
This article builds on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health (right to health), and includes specific elements such as a reference to traditional medicine.
Article 24: right to housing
Article 25: right to education
Article 26: cultural rights, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions
This article focuses on socio-cultural aspects, in particular traditional knowledge and traditional cultural heritage.
- Human rights
- United Nations Human Rights Council
- Rights of indigenous people
- Right to food
- FAO's Plant Treaty (ITPGRFA)
- Peasant movement
- Via Campesina
- United Nations Decade of Family Farming
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas as Adopted by the General Assembly, 17 December 2019 in Resolution 73/165.
- An illustrated version published by Via Campesina
- Declaration of Rights of Peasants ‐ Women and Men. Peasants of the World need an International Convention on the Rights of Peasants, initial proposal made by Via Campesina
Notes and references
- ^ UN News (18 December 2018). "Bachelet da la bienvenida a la nueva declaración de la ONU para proteger a los campesinos" (in Spanish). United Nations. UN News. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
- ^ "Declaration of Rights of Peasants ‐ Women and Men. Peasants of the World need an International Convention on the Rights of Peasants" (PDF). Via Campesina. 2008. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
- ^ Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights: Project: The Rights of Peasants (Started in May 2008), 2008–2020.
- ^ See Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights's page on the UNDROP negotiation project
- ^ Press release (28 September 2018). "UN Human Rights Council passes a resolution adopting the peasant rights declaration in Geneva". viacampesina.org. Geneva: La Via Campesina. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
- ^ Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms (Report of the Third Committee) A/73/589/Add.2
- ^ "UNITED NATIONS: Third Committee approves the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas". Via Campesina. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
- ^ UNGA Third Committee voting record on A/C.3/73/L.30
- ^ A. Wise, Timothy (24 January 2019). "UN Backs Seed Sovereignty in Landmark Peasants' Rights Declaration". Resilience. Archived from the original on 10 March 2020. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
- ^ OHCHR (18 December 2018). "UN Human Rights Chief welcomes adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants". Retrieved 5 May 2020.
- ^ "General Assembly official records, 73rd session: 55th plenary meeting, Monday, 17 December 2018, New York". United Nations Digital Library. United Nations. Retrieved 6 May 2020.