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Published on 14/05/2018

Declaration of farmers’ rights: France needs to commit!

The French farmers’ confederation, the French Committee for International Solidarity (CFSI) and FIAN-France sent an open letter signed by 59 prominent figures and 68 associations (in French only), trade unions and NGOs – including GRET – to the President of France. The letter advocates for the recognition of rights for farmers and people working in rural areas.

[Download the press release] (in french only)
[Download the open letter] (in french)

Paris, 29 March 2018 – Open letter to President Emmanuel Macron

Dear Mister President,

All over the world, men and women farmers and people working in rural areas are subjected to serious violations of their rights: 70 % of people suffering from hunger are rural people, mainly men and women farmers; many of these are evicted arbitrarily from the land they cultivate, which is the source of their livelihoods; freedom for farmers to produce their own seeds is regressing worldwide because of increasing legislation in favour of industrial seeds, produced by an ever-decreasing number of multinationals, to the detriment of farmers’ seeds; all over the world, men and women farmers and people working in rural areas are struggling to live off their work, due to a lack of decent income. And these are just a few examples.

Given this situation and the lack of legal instruments, and following the recommendations made by its consultative committee, the Human Rights Council decided to draw up a United Nations Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.

This Declaration aims to promote these rights by codifying existing human rights that are stipulated in many different texts. It also aims to accord the value of human rights to emerging rights, which are essential to fight against specific discriminations affecting men and women farmers and all people working on the land (right to seeds, to land, to social protection, to decent living and working conditions…).

Since 2012, France has evolved positively by moving from opposition to abstention during votes renewing the mandate of the Council on Human Rights work group on the drawing up of the Declaration.

Although it is no longer a member of the Council on human rights, France has major influence within the European Union, where the common position of member States is discussed. Before the next session of the work group, from 9 to 13 April 2018, a strong stance in favour of the ambitious Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, recognising in particular their right to seeds, land, water and food sovereignty, would have a knock-on effect with other European countries, who would join with the vast majority of African, Asian and Latin American countries that have stated they are in favour of the Declaration. Having heard your commitment to food sovereignty, which is a key point in this Declaration, we are counting firmly on your support, which could be expressed through an official statement.
We would be delighted to meet you to discuss this in person.

Yours most respectfully,

Contacts:

  • French farmers’ confederation: Laurent Pinatel, Spokesperson: + 33 (0)6 80 58 97 22
  • French Committee for International Solidarity (CFSI): Pascal Erard, institutional advocacy manager: + 33 (0)6 72 08 83 96
  • FIAN-France: Claire Even, Chairperson: contact@fian.fr