The Rise of New Rights for Peasants. From reliance on NGO intermediaries to direct representation

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The UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other people working in rural areas, adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2018, recognises new human rights to peasants and other people working in rural areas. The recognition of these rights (such as the right to land, seeds or biodiversity) in international law responds to a normative gap identified by the affected themselves and contributes to the project of ‘decolonising’ human rights. This international law-making process constitutes an important innovation in that it was requested by and developed with the active involvement of La Via Campesina activists—and other transnational movements representing other categories of rural food producers—who have positioned themselves as ‘law makers’. In this paper, I argue that a commitment to ‘human rights from below’ must account for and support the direct engagement, in international law-making, of transnational social movements representing the affected and speaking on their own behalf.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-399
Number of pages14
JournalTransnational Legal Theory
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Transnational Legal Theory on [In-press], available


  • Food sovereignty
  • Human rights
  • La Via Campesina
  • NGOs
  • Peasant
  • Social movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law

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