In Geneva, March 2012, the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) estimates that between 50 and 80 million ha. of land in poor and developing countries have been negotiated, acquired or leased by international investors.
Large-scale land transactions are undermining food security, livelihoods and the environment of local populations. Along with a history-long discrimination against rural people, this wildly spreading global phenomenon has been the reason why there have been so many reports of human rights violations in rural areas recently, especially with regards to land rights.
While the United Nations Human Rights Council is planning to discuss a Declaration of the Rights of Peasants in the coming days, FIAN International together with La Via Campesina has organised a parallel event to the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday (8/3/2012).
In this 19th session, the Advisory Committee will present final report on the advancement of the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas (document A/HRC/19/75). Besides the focus on the rights of the most vulnerable people working in rural areas, the study discusses the need to create a new special procedure to improve the promotion and protection of the rights of peasants and develop a new international human rights instrument for these rights. A declaration, based on the La Via Campesina Declaration of the Rights of Peasants Women and Men is attached to the study and could serve as a model.
The event, entitled “Land Grabbing and the Urgent Need to Protect the Rights of Peasants“, is acting as a warm up event for the current session of UN Human Rights Council. The objective is to lobby and connect parties who are supportive of peasants´ rights initiatives. State members, Advisory Committee members, as well as experts and NGOs were invited to participate.
Others said …
Land grabbing is clearly a gross violation of the rights of peasants. Most of these land grabs are not even for food production but for agrofuels, which are destroying our land, society, environment and our food sovereignty. ~ Jean Ziegler, former special rapporteur on the Right to Food.
“e have to forbid land grabbing, if we want to protect our food system. ~ Mr. Ziegler, currently a UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee member
Henry Saraigh from La Via Campesina noted, “We have been saying this for 11 years already; land grabbing is not a new phenomenon, however it is getting worse. If this trend continues, it will not only affect rural people in Southern countries, but it will also affect Northern countries, as land grabs will undermine the whole food system.”
The inequalities in land tenure as well as for other productive resources, discrimination against rural women peasants, the increase in hunger and malnutrition, and the difficulties in meeting the Millennium Development Goals are all very good reasons why we need a breakthrough in dealing with the food situation,” . Jean Feyder, Ambassador from Luxembourg.
Food is not a commodity, food has cultural and social dimensions too. Therefore, our food, our culture, and our social cohesion will be destroyed should the land grabbing phenomenon persist.
Peasants and other rural people are now claiming their rights and offer real alternatives to improve the food system and human rights mechanisms. It is about time for the international community to respond to this.” Ana Maria Suarez Franco from FIAN International.