Experts Gather to Discuss the Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants

Panelist at the expert seminar on the implementation of the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants Panelist at the expert seminar on the implementation of the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants

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.

Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants Expert Seminar Lessons Learned Indigenous People

About our Research Project on the Rights of Peasants

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.


Portrait of Marco Sassòli News

Professor Marco Sassòli Steps in as New Director of the Geneva Academy

3 September 2018

Professor Marco Sassòli has been appointed as the new Director of the Geneva Academy. He takes up this role following the retirement of Professor Robert Roth.

Read more

Portrait of Giles Duley News

Photographer Giles Duley Joins our Project on Disability and Armed Conflict

19 September 2017

Giles Duley will travel to five case study states – Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Palestine, Ukraine and Vietnam – to document and tell the stories of persons with disabilities during and following armed conflict.

Read more

A frame of the UN film on the UDHR Event

The UDHR at Seventy: Historical and Juridical Perspectives

5 December 2018, 09:00-19:30

This symposium, co-organized with the Department of International History of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, will discuss recent and ongoing research related to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Read more

Peru, Huancasancos. Vigil and burial ceremonies for the victims of the conflict whose remains were finally restituted to their families after 30 years of disappearance. Spring School

Confronting the Truth: The Functions, Practices and Challenges of Truth Commissions

2-4 April 2019

Truth Commissions are by now an integral part of the transitional justice vocabulary and practice. The 2019 Spring School will provide a comprehensive, multidimensional and practical examination of this transitional justice mechanism, shedding light on both its aims and the practical challenges it has met or is likely to meet.

Read more

General view of the room XX and delegates during of the High Level Segment of the 31st Session at the Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland, February 29, 2016 Short Course

Optimizing the Human Rights Council: At the Interplay Between Law and Politics

23 January - 1 February 2019

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.

Read more

South Lebanon, Aita ech Chaab. Entry door of the primary school. Project

Protection of Education in Armed Conflict

Completed in January 2011

This project analyzed how United Nations (UN) human rights treaty bodies and relevant UN Charter-based mechanisms and entities have addressed the implementation of the right to education and other relevant rights in armed conflict and armed violence.

Read more

Séléka rebels patrol in the town of Bria, Central African Republic (CAR). Project

Human Rights Responsibilities and Armed Non-State Actors

Started in June 2018

This research aims at building a common understanding and vision as to how states and the relevant parts of the UN system can provide a concrete and practical framework to address human rights responsibilities of armed non-state actors.

Read more