“The natural commons should not be allowed to become hostage to market greed and predatory states” – Muhammed Ali Shah, WFFP

A United Nations declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas is coming under the spotlight this week at a working group of the Human Rights Council. The gathering is taking place in Geneva.

The World Forum of Fisher Peoples, of which Masifundise is a member, is represented at the meeting by Muhammad Ali Shah, a co-chair of the WFFP. Mr Shah, who is also the chairperson of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, is lobbying for greater integration of fisher peoples in the declaration.

In his opening remarks during last year’s discussions held in Geneva, while delivering the WFFP’s statement on the declaration, Mr Ali Shah asked the working group of the Human rights Council to reject the commodification of nature.

“Land grabs were the start of market-led colonisation; now it’s the turn of water, including oceans. The natural commons, on which depend livelihoods of tens of millions, should not be allowed to become hostage to market greed and predatory states,” he asserted.

The working group established by the Human Rights Council is a response to demands from social movements for better protection of the human rights of peasants, fisher peoples, pastoralists and other groups from all over the world.

All UN Member and Observer States, inter-governmental organisations and non-governmental organisations with ECOSOC consultative status as well as national human rights institutions with “A” status may attend public meetings of the working group.

This year, the working group sessions are taking place from 2-6 February 2015.

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