EU governments and leaders

This petition is run by the European Coordination of La Via Campesina

The 2 billion people working in rural areas are claiming their rights to dignity and our right to healthy diets. A UN declaration on their rights is the most powerful legal instrument against abuses like landgrabs, biopiracy and labour exploitation. It would be the solid foundation in defence of healthy, sustainable food systems and diets. We call on European governments to stop derailing this initiative.

Why is it important ?

The negotiations for a UN declaration on the rights of the rural world could change history: it would guarantee the rights of peasants to feed their communities, protect their livelihood and the sustainable and diverse food systems that nurture us all.

However, after 15 years of mobilization by peasant organizations throughout the world, this initiative is now in danger. Its course through the UN risks of being derailed for good by European governments between the 9th and 13th April, in the next session within the UN Human Rights Council. Unwavering in their cause, for that occasion, an international delegation of peasants will be present in Geneva and are calling on us to stand together in defence of this Declaration!

Help defend this historic process, and the world’s future.

Let’s send a powerful message from across Europe to European governments and leaders that they need to endorse this Declaration!

Our signatures will be handed over to European governments during the course of this coming UN Human Rights Council session (and, if needed, for the one after) as proof of the clear support of public opinion to protect rural communities and sustainable food systems, in Europe and the world.

Serving as a clear acknowledgement of the fundamental role of small scale food producers, this Declaration would give them concrete prospects for decent working and living conditions. In Europe, despite agriculture been particularly industrialized, small-scale farmers and their model of production is the basis for quality food, the creation of most jobs in rural areas, the sustainable management of natural resources and the fight against climate change. However, because of a lack of decent income, land grabbing and lack of adequate support from public authorities, farms are disappearing at a dizzying rate in favour of the expansion of large agroindustrial complexes, which are also capturing people’s diets.

In Eastern Europe, where the vast majority of farmers in Europe are located, this Declaration is extremely important. The tens of millions of people in this region who live and work in rural areas need their governments to back this Declaration.

70% of the food produced globally comes from peasant farming. Herders, fishers and peasants are the guardians of biodiversity and ensure sustainable and quality food as they offer alternatives to large-scale industrial farming. But the public funding of the agroindustry, landgrabbing, biopiracy of seeds and toxic free trade agreements are undermining livelihoods in rural communities as well as sustainable, healthy food systems. They therefore need our support.

The rights of peasants can be protected with a unique UN declaration, and we can help make it happen by putting pressure on our Ministries of foreign affairs to endorse it! Such a declaration would be a concrete tool to stop violations against rural communities: peasants would be able to assert their specific rights like the right to land, decent incomes or to seeds. Moreover, it would be an international instrument that has to be respected, protected and fulfilled by governments and international institutions.

Sign the petition here: