On Friday 28 September 2018, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas (UN Declaration). What roles states, civil society organizations, social movements and international organizations should play in implementing the UN Declaration? What lessons can be learned from the implementation of the UN Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples?
Our expert seminar, co-organized with the Government of Switzerland, the Permanent Mission of Bolivia to the United Nations in Geneva, and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, precisely aimed at debating these questions.
On 31 October 2018, at the Palais des Nations, more than 60 participants – academics, experts, diplomats, representatives of non-governmental organizations and social movements – gathered to discuss examples of good practices that could be replicated in implementing the UN Declaration, such as the recognition of the rights of peasants in national constitutions, laws, policies and programmes, increased collaboration between UN agencies, and practical tools produced by civil society and social movements.
‘The adoption of the UN Declaration is the outcome of more than ten years of work by social movements, civil society organizations, experts, and academic institutions like the Geneva Academy’ underlines Dr Christophe Golay, Special Adviser on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at the Geneva Academy and Coordinator of our research project on the rights of peasants.
‘Its implementation at the national and international levels, for example through making sure that the right to land is guaranteed for peasants and their communities, and that the right to seeds has precedence over property regimes or trade agreements, is key to ensure the rights of peasants and, ultimately, significantly improve their situation on the ground. This expert seminar is a first step towards this implementation’ stresses Dr Christophe Golay.
As human beings, peasants and other people working in rural areas, including those working in small-scale and traditional agriculture, fishing, herding and hunting activities, are entitled to all human rights. However, their vulnerability remains a particular concern. They represent 70 percent of people living in extreme poverty and 80 percent of the world’s hungry. Many are victims of multiple discrimination and human rights violations and are not effectively protected by the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions because they are not engaged in the formal sector.
Our research project aims to support efforts to strengthen the promotion and protection of the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas. After having provided academic support to the negotiation of the UN Declaration for ten years, we focus on the implementation of the UN Declaration through publications, conferences, expert seminars, and training courses.
The Academic Platform on Treaty Body Review 2020 has an entirely new portal on our website, allowing visitors to easily access key information about this project, its documents, timeframe, regional consultations, annual conferences and the team.
Our new Research Brief The Right to Seeds and Intellectual Property Rights summarizes key findings linked to the recognition of peasants’ right to seeds in the context of the current negotiation of a UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas at the UN Human Rights Council.
This short course focuses on the specific issues that arise in times of armed conflict regarding the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. It addresses key issues like the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict; the possibilities of restricting human rights under systems of limitations and derogations; and the extraterritorial application of human rights law.
UN Photo/Pierre Albouy
This short course focuses on the functioning and the mechanisms of the United Nations Human Rights Council, as well as on the dynamics at play in this major human rights body.
This research project, aims via the drafting of a practitioners’ guide on human rights and countering corruption, to clarify the conceptual relationship between human rights, good governance and anticorruption, demonstrate the negative impact of corruption on human rights and provide guidance and make practical recommendations for effectively using the UN human rights system in anti-corruption efforts.
This project aims to raise awareness about the complementarity of human rights and development by analyzing the relationship between economic, social and cultural rights and global development goals, namely the Millennium Development Goals adopted in 2000 and the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015.