SEARICE, farmers’ rights advocates declare victory with Human Rights Council resolution strengthening the implementation of the UN Declaration on peasants’ rights
MANILA, 13 October 2023--The Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE) declared a victory for peasants today, following the adoption by the Human Rights Council (HRC) of a resolution that aims to reinforce the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP). The UNDROP is a landmark UN declaration that recognizes the rights of peasants and rural workers.
HRC Resolution A /HRC/54/L.11 calls for the establishment of a working group on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas. This working group, whose members will be appointed at the 55th session of the HRC, is mandated to “promote the effective and comprehensive dissemination and implementation” of the UNDROP.
The UNDROP was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 18, 2018. It is a call for justice and a plan of action for governments to respect, protect, and fulfill the rights of peasants while also effectively regulating transnational corporations to prevent harm. The declaration also emphasizes the critical role of peasants in managing natural resources for food and agriculture and ensuring food security.
However, five years later, peasants and rural workers continue to be deprived of their rights, and their contributions to food security and biodiversity conservation remain unacknowledged.
“While small-scale farmers and peasants feed around 70 to 80 per cent of the world, they make up 80 per cent of the world’s hungry and 70 per cent of those living in extreme poverty,” said Normita Ignacio, executive director of SEARICE.
“Besides their disproportionate exposure to environmental degradation, toxic substances, land grabbing and climate change, peasants and rural workers also suffer from the burdens caused by poverty, hunger and malnutrition,” Ignacio added.
The HRC calls on all States and all stakeholders to cooperate fully with the working group in the performance of its mandate and to consider implementing the recommendations to be made by the working group in its reports.
“SEARICE is optimistic that with the leadership of the Working Group, “States will show leadership and implement the UNDROP by incorporating its norms and standards into national laws and policies,” said Ignacio.
HRC Resolution A /HRC/54/L.11 requests the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide the working group with all financial and human resources necessary to enable it to carry out its mandate fully and effectively.
The Resolution was adopted by a vote of 38 in favor, two against and seven abstentions. The United States and the United Kingdom voted against the Resolution.