A working group of the United Nations Human Rights Council met in Geneva last week to begin formulating a draft U.N. Declaration on the rights of peasants and other rural workers. The era of permanent food shortages, foreign land grabs and multinational industrial agriculture has seen the peasantry beset by persecution and denial of their rights to food, land and human rights.
From the United Nations University's OurWorld 2.0:
Recent years have seen a sharp increase in the tendency to persecute,
punish and criminalize social protest activities and the legitimate
claims of those who promote food sovereignty and defend connected human
rights, especially in cases related to large-scale economic investment.
...the second most vulnerable group of human rights’ defenders
are those working on land, natural resources and environmental issues.
Criminalization of food sovereignty activists can
be defined as the increasingly systematic and recurrent way in which
baseless criminal actions — or criminal actions based on laws that do
not comply with human rights and/or are discriminatory and biased in
favour of powerful actors — are brought against people and social
movements claiming food sovereignty and connected human rights, such as
the right to adequate food, to land and territory, to water, and to
freedom of assembly and association.
Members of social movements rallying for food
sovereignty often face legal action based on ambiguous definitions of
crimes (such as charges for supposed offenses affecting the honour or
reputation of public servants), which in many cases are contrary to the
law. ...a number
of irregularities are often observed during criminal proceedings,
namely, arbitrary arrests, the excessive extension of pre-trial
detention and unreasonable lengthening of criminal proceedings.
Members of food sovereignty social movements and their supporters can
also be subject to criminalization via the direct or indirect actions of
non-State actors such as companies, communications’ media, private
security agencies and others. This is particularly the case when
large-scale investment projects such as mining, hydroelectric dams,
forestry and agribusiness are at stake.