Rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas

India - Woman drying chilies - (c)Mohan Dhamotharan
In absolute terms, there have never been more peasants in the world than there are today: the number is currently estimated to be about 1.2 billion at the global level.  While peasant farmers, landless, rural workers, indigenous peoples, livestock herders, small-scale fishers, and their families represent about half of the world's population and constitute the backbone of our food systems, paradoxically, they are also disproportionately affected by hunger.

Peasants are in an increasingly dire situation

According to the UN, close to 80 percent of the people suffering from hunger and chronic malnutrition live in rural areas.  Moreover, peasants are victims of historic and persistent discrimination and other human rights violations such as arbitrary detentions and extrajudicial killings in many countries.

Access to productive resources is crucial for peasants who are consequently those most affected by land grabbing.  Peasants around the world also face increasing constraints from natural resource degradation and climate change.  Price volatility, lack of proper support for peasant agriculture, dumping of agricultural products on local markets, weather-related events and increasing pressures on natural resources put peasants in an increasingly dire situation.

FIAN's Work

Peasants, particularly women, need clear recognition of their right to land, to seeds, to information and technology, to freedom to determine prices and markets for agricultural production, to biological diversity, and to preserve the environment.

FIAN advocates for peasants' rights in an effort to overcome one of the major root causes of hunger. While it is urgent to better implement existing international norms for peasants and other people living in rural areas, we also contribute to addressing the normative gaps under international human rights law, and to elaborating new legal instruments regarding the rights of peasants.  One of these instruments is the declaration on the rights of peasants, which is being discussed in a working group of the UN Human Rights Council. 


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