DURBAN – RURAL women are calling on government to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (Undrop) to protect the rights of small-scale farmworkers.
The Rural Women's Assembly of South Africa said women from all over the country, who gathered for their land conference in Franschhoek this week, are calling on the government to implement the Undrop resolution.
The resolution was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 17, 2018 and South Africa was one of the first countries to sign it.
However, this UN resolution has yet to be properly implemented and the rights of farmworkers still get violated by various people and groups daily.
“We are being abused, evicted, restricted by quotas and forced to eat GM foods, among other things, and no one is protecting us,” the women said
According to the Undrop resolution: “States shall respect, and take measures to recognise and protect, the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas relating to their traditional knowledge, and eliminate discrimination against the traditional knowledge, practices and technologies of peasants and other people working in rural areas.”
However, the advocacy group questioned why the resolution was never acted on in South Africa, despite government promoting the Rights of Peasants.
“Farmworkers and especially women in rural areas remain incredibly vulnerable and we are still not offered protection three years after the South African government signed the declaration,” the group said.
It said farm evictions were an all too common occurrence and women did not have full control over the seeds.
“We still have no land to grow on and the government continues to stand on the sidelines. The declaration says that the State shall respect and take measures to recognise and protect the rights of peasants and small-scale farmers.
“We demand that these rights be protected. We demand that immediate action be taken. We demand that the government give us answers on what progress has been made after they signed the Undrop,” the group said.