The partners of the project Rights-based and Agroecological Initiatives for Sustainability and Equity in Peasant Communities (RAISE), supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), welcome the creation of an international monitoring mechanism on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas – namely a UN special procedure in the form of a working group – by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC).

This working group will be responsible for the promotion and implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP), adopted by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) back in 2018. It will identify and promote best practices and lessons learned, foster collaboration and technical capacity-building in the pursuit of UNDROP’s implementation, undertake country visits, and send communications to states and other stakeholders in case of violations of the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.

The creation of this international mechanism marks a significant step forward in addressing an issue that is of paramount importance not only for peasants but also for our future: peasants and their organizations now have a platform to shed light on the violations they face and draw attention to the numerous obstacles they confront in the pursuit of their rights. This mechanism represents therefore a pivotal political and legal tool for advancing the realization of the rights enshrined in UNDROP.

The creation of this working group also demonstrates the growing international recognition of the important role that family farming plays in food production, preserving biodiversity and protecting the environment. During the whole negotiations, peasants’ organizations – led by La Via Campesina – played a crucial role in this breakthrough, supported by RAISE project partners.

The Working Group will be made up of five independent experts from different continents and will be operational in Spring 2024.

RAISE will work closely with this new mechanism to ensure its success and will also continue to closely monitor the situation of peasants’ rights around the world.

The RAISE Project Partners

FASTENAKTIONis leading the RAISE consortium under the SDC co-funded project on human rights in food systems. Founded in 1961 as Fastenopfer, Fastenaktion has been working with a human rights-based approach for many years. In recent years, it has been involved intensively in strengthening peasants’ rights through engaging in international processes, working with partner organizations in the South, and raising awareness in Switzerland.

DKA Austria is the development agency of the Catholic Children’s Movement in Austria. Regarding the right to food, DKA Austria is supporting peasants and their communities in their transition towards agroecology and advocates for UNDROP’s implementation, for Children’s environmental rights and binding commitments to human rights in supply chains.

VSF-Suisse is a Swiss NGO active in the field of livestock breeding and livelihoods and is present in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Kenya in the RAISE project. . The Pastoralist Cluster with VSF-Suisse as a Cluster lead is closely collaborating with the Center for Minority Rights Development(CEMIRIDE), that works to strengthen the capacities of minorities and indigenous peoples to secure their rights and whose current focus is on economic empowerment (secured livelihoods and better access to basic services including health, education, security, food and water) for sustainable livelihoods and Réseau Billital Maroobé (RBM), engaging for local livestock breeds as well as for local fodder use with the idea of conserving locally adapted varieties of fodder species in the ASALs (Arid and Semi-Arid Lands).

The Rural Women’s Assembly (RWA) is a rural women’s movement anchored in ten countries in Southern Africa. Its more than 120’000 members are smallholders, producers, farm workers and fishers, including the most marginalised. It has a longstanding record of accomplishment in amplifying rural women’s voice in demanding their rights to land, food and seed sovereignty and commons as well as in advocacy work towards the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union as well as UN human rights mechanisms.

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights is engaged in a number of projects and activities on the right to food and the rights of peasants, at international and regional level. Together with La Via Campesina, CETIM and FIAN International, it has created a website about UNDROP .

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