Peasants and Labour Rights
The word Hari in Sindhi means peasant. Hari [peasant] Welfare Association primarily aims to work for the welfare (rights) of peasants and other people (i.e. farm workers, daily wage workers) in Sindh. HWA is working through evidence based advocacy and campaign. Thus, it has been drafting, publishing and widely circulating the data on the state of peasants with special focus on bonded labourers, children and women. Every year on the international day of peasants, HWA launches “the State of Peasants Rights in Sindh” (https://hariwelfare.org/publications/) and raises voices (https://www.dawn.com/news/1476767) against unending injustice by the feudal and corporate class on peasants, bonded labourers, fishers, farm workers and others in rural areas. HWA’s advocacy and campaign is primarily driven and guided by the Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people in rural areas. For the last five years, HWA is supporting 20 small peasants and workers’ groups in different villages in Benazirabad district in matters related and governing their agriculture activities.
It is helping them to resolve disputes with different departments of the government. For the betterment of peasants and rural communities, HWA has also been working along with Sindh Education Foundation and the Government of Sindh to provide education to children of downtrodden peasant class. HWA regularly monitors the plight of peasant camps in different districts of Sindh, and highlight and advocate for special measures to protect ex-bonded labour families through education, health and other services.
In Pakistan, especially in Sindh, peasants are suffering through injustice for centuries in the hands of feudal lords, landlords, businessmen, bureaucrats, and politicians. Despite the fact that majority belongs to agriculture sector but there is no representation of peasants in assemblies. Peasants are represented by those politicians who are landlords however for their own west interest they could not make any pro peasant rights legislation in assemblies.
There is good contribution of peasants and workers to fulfil the dreams of landowners but their own dreams remain shattered. Today peasants are facing famines, hunger, illnesses, malnutrition, poverty and deaths. They and their children are deprived from the basic constitutional rights that include health services, education, food, shelter, safe drinking water, right to land and so on. This all is an outcome of policies and structure operated by feudal lords. In 1950, the Sindh Tenancy Act was passed but it has never been implemented. In this scenario it was fourth consecutive year, HWA launched the annual flagship report on the State of Peasants’ Rights in Sindh in 2018. This year too the report brings-in various important aspects and dimensions of peasant’s rights into limelight which are greatly ignored and sidelined in the national and provincial forums and policies. For 2018, HWA has collected important matters in the report and would like to share these with you and many other important stakeholders: