La Via Campesina at the Human Right Council (*)

Mr President, High Commissioner,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me begin by expressing my deep concerns regarding the grave situation in Libya. The shockingly violent food riots in Tunisia and Algeria are also in our thoughts, as this year the world is again entering a major food crisis.

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Peasants fight for their rights within the United Nations (UN)


(Jakarta, 1 March 2011) La Via Campesina is a global peasants' movement consisting of 150 member organizations in 70 countries and representing over 200 million peasants and rural workers. For more than a decade we have been fighting for the recognition of our basic rights within the framework of the UN convention on human rights. These basic rights are detailed in La Via Campesina’s Declaration of the Rights of Peasants - Women and Men.

The current global food crisis which has forced more than 1 billion people to into hunger and malnutrition demands both a swift response and constructive international cooperation. Therefore, this is the right time to recognize and protect the peasants’ human rights—the ones who have been discriminated against and those whose rights have been violated over centuries.

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13th Session of the Human Right Council: "Ending the discrimination against peasants"

*Mr. President,

I am Henry Saragih, general coordinator of La Via Campesina. La Via Campesina is a global movement gathering peasants organisations from 70 countries from around the globe including in Senegal, India, Switzerland, France, Spain, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, Mali. We have about 200 millions member actively participating in La Via Campesina.

On behalf of La Via Campesina and the CETIM, I am coming here in the 13th session of the UN Human Rights Council to congratulate the work of UN human rights body, especially the Advisory Committee on establishing the groundwork of promotion and protection of rights of peasants. The fourth session of the Advisory Committee delivered the report (A/HRC/AC/4/2) and recommendations which set a standard of non-discrimination against peasants, particularly rural women, and other people living in rural areas, including those engaged in traditional fishing, hunting, and herding activities.

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The rights of peasants to strengthen the human rights framework

During the current session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Advisory Committee will present a study on discrimination in the context of the right to food. This study concludes that peasant families are among the main victims of right to food violations and discrimination and that there is an urgent need to enhance their protection under international human rights law.

That is the main message conveyed by many internationally-known human rights defenders, activists and farmers in the Conference titled “A New Initiative to Protect the Rights of Peasants”, organized by the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights on Monday (8/3).

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