Right to Food

a Project on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights ADH.

Linked on our blogs with the website Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights ADH, with Global cereal supply and demand update, with Training on ESC Rights,  and with Jean Ziegler – Switzerland.

The right to food is a human right. It protects the right of all human beings to live in dignity, free from hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. The right to food is not about charity, but about ensuring that all people have the capacity to feed themselves in dignity … (What is the right to food? 1/2).

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What is the right to food? 2/2:  … The right to food is protected under international human rights and humanitarian law and the correlative state obligations are equally well-established under international law.

The right to food is recognized in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ICESCR, as well as a plethora of other instruments. Noteworthy is also the recognition of the right to food in numerous national constitutions.

As authoritatively defined by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Committee on ESCR) in its General Comment 12.

“the right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman and child, alone and in community with others, has physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement” (General Comment 12, 1999, para 6).

Inspired by the above definition, the Special Rapporteur has concluded that the right to food entails:

“the right to have regular, permanent and unrestricted access, either directly or by means of financial purchases, to quantitatively and qualitatively adequate and sufficient food corresponding to the cultural traditions of the people to which the consumer belongs, and which ensures a physical and mental, individual and collective, fulfilling and dignified life free of fear.” (Publications /A/HRC/7/5 /para 17.

It is generally accepted that the right to food implies three types of state obligations – the obligation to respect, protect and to fulfil. These types of obligations were defined in General Comment 12 by the Committee on ESCR and endorsed by states, when the FAO Council adopted the Right to Food Guidelines (Voluntary Guidelines) in November 2004.

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