SOUTH AFRICA: Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Shadow Event

This event, which took place on 16 November at the Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, was to shadow the regular review of the human rights records of UN Member States, such as South Africa, based on reports by Member States, Human Rights institutions and Civil Society Organisations. The review included reports and recommendations based on South Africa’s implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP).

UNDROP was signed by the South African government in 2018, and government is now is under obligation to implement UNDROP. The Rural Women’s Assembly believes that UNDROP is more than just a declaration, it is an opportunity to implement the human rights of peasants, small-scale farmers and other people working in rural areas, including their right to food sovereignty and to redress their historic marginalisation. The Rural Women’s Assembly has undertaken to monitor and advocate for the speedy implementation of UNDROP.

During this event we articulated our recommendations for the implementation of UNDROP to address the policy and legislative gaps in relation to the rights of rural communities and rural women in particular.

The Honourable Susana Caputi was representing the Bolivian embassy  and provided us with valuable information about the implementation of UNDROP in Bolivia. During the programme, the 28 UNDROP articles were deliberated on and the women also articulated which demands/recommendations the South African Government is expected to implement.

We, as the Rural Women\’s Assembly, should mobilise and organise ourselves to use the UNDROP booklet to educate and disseminate information about the 28 articles. We demand:

  • The land be divided equally between women and men. Women are usually the ones that are marginalised.
  • Proper preservation systems for the knowledge of indigenous seeds, use of indigenous seeds and knowledge by peasants and rural women/others
  • To have ownership over our own seeds and not be forced to use hybrid seeds
  • Proper documents for ownership of land/ land tenure/ acquire land, these documents should make land accessible for rural women
  • Municipal and governmental departments such as Water and Sanitation, Department of Agriculture and Department of Rural Development get involved and open platforms to engage us.
  • Accountability from local officials at municipal, provincial and national levels for land reform.
  • Government to implement, decentralize information about UNDROP especially article 15
  • Right to Food and Food sovereignty and ensure that systems be put in place to financially support rural women
  • Rural women are part of the decision-making processes with regards to agriculture
  • Women can’t access land as compared to men: We demand that this red tape be broken
  • Access to financial resources for small scale producers
  • Access to a market with technical support

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