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  • Colombia's decision not to vote in favor of the measure has sparked an outcry of

    Colombia's decision not to vote in favor of the measure has sparked an outcry of "shame" from the international community. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 December 2018

The measure calls on countries to take steps to protect the rural population and provide them with dignified conditions and resources.

The United Nations General Assembly gave the latest approval to a declaration on the rights of rural residents and worker Campesinos Monday in a vote that Colombia chose to abstain in along with 53 other countries.

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The document recognizes the work and contributions of rural populations in development. It calls on nations to take measures that protect them while promoting dignified conditions and resources to improve their living and working conditions.

"The rural population has been systematically left behind,” said Carla Mucavi, director of the Food and Agriculture Liaison Office for the United Nations in New York.

“It is the vast majority of the world's poor, generally have lower wages and less access to water, energy, social protection and other services that are essential for their sustainable development. This is an opportunity to change this reality."

Colombia’s rural communities are vulnerable to drug traffickers. They make up about 20 percent of the overall population and endure poverty rates 12 points higher than urban areas, however, the country’s representatives in the U.N. chose to abstain from the vote, which is in line with their previous lack of engagement in a similar vote last November.

Last week, over 50 organizations and 40 congressmen and academics sent a letter to Colombian President Ivan Duque demanding that his country endorse the declaration or at least provide reasons for abstaining.

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