National | Media Release

NFU urges Canada to support Declaration for the Rights of Peasants at United Nations

The National Farmers Union (NFU) urges Canada to vote in favour of the United Nations (UN) Declaration for the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas when it goes before the 3rd Committee session of the General Assembly.

“The UN Declaration for the Rights of Peasants is a framework recognizing the human rights of peasants, rural families, and landless farmers around the world,” explained NFU member Joan Brady, North American Regional Coordinator of La Via Campesina (LVC). “Eighty percent of global poverty exists in rural areas. This declaration is a tool to empower and protect peasants and improve livelihoods in rural areas. It celebrates the vital knowledge held by rural people and urges nations to acknowledge their fundamental rights. It is the product of over a decade of work by civil society movements and organizations fronted by La Via Campesina.”

According to LVC a peasant is “…a man or woman of the land, who has a direct and special relationship with the land and nature through the production of food and/or other agricultural products. Peasants work the land themselves, rely above all on family labour and other small-scale forms of organizing labour. Peasants are traditionally embedded in their local communities and they take care of local landscapes and of agro-ecological systems… this includes Indigenous people working on the land… the term peasant also refers to landless farmers and farm workers.”

The key tenets of the UN Declaration for the Rights of Peasants uphold peasants’ rights to natural resources and the right to development; their right to food and food sovereignty; their right to land and other natural resources; their right to seeds and biological diversity and the rights of peasant women.

“These rights must be recognized and protected – and urgently,” said Jessie MacInnis, member of the NFU International Program Committee. “Multinational corporations and capitalist ventures are pushing forward their agendas with no acknowledgement of the peoples they disperse or the land they remove from food production. These unsustainable actions threaten long-held knowledge of traditional seeds, lands and farming practices, and are causing a hunger crisis among many smallholders.”

As a proponent of the family farm, NFU believes that Canadian farm families provide the most appropriate and efficient form of agriculture in line with principles of food sovereignty. NFU is a founding member of La Via Campesina, an international movement that represents over 200 million peasants in 81 countries, bringing together organizations representing small-and-medium scale farmers, peasants, farm workers, rural women, and indigenous communities.

NFU farmer leaders will accompany La Via Campesina (LVC) in New York during the third wave of delegates in November to call upon the nations of the General Assembly to adopt this declaration.

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For more information:

  • Joan Brady, North American Regional Coordinator of La Via Campesina or phone 1-226-237-3108
  • Jessie MacInnis, National Farmers Union Region 1 (Atlantic) International Programs Committee Representative,

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