No known right to food. The right to food does not imply that governments have an obligation to hand out free food to everyone who wants it, or a right to be fed. However, if people are deprived of access to food for reasons beyond their control, for example, because they are in detention, in times of war or after natural disasters, the right requires cedaw optional protocol pdf government to provide food directly. 160 state parties as of May 2012.
States that sign the covenant agree to take steps to the maximum of their available resources to achieve progressively the full realization of the right to adequate food, both nationally and internationally. In a total of 106 countries the right to food is applicable either via constitutional arrangements of various forms or via direct applicability in law of various international treaties in which the right to food is protected. 840 to 420 million by 2015. However, the number has increased over the past years, reaching an infamous record in 2009 of more than 1 billion undernourished people worldwide. Whilst under international law states are obliged to respect, protect and fulfill the right to food, the practical difficulties in achieving this human right are demonstrated by prevalent food insecurity across the world, and ongoing litigation in countries such as India. The relationship between the two concepts is not straightforward.
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 ensure a physical and mental, individual and collective, fulfilling and dignified life free of fear. This is a common misconception. The right to food is not a right to a minimum ration of calories, proteins and other specific nutrients, or a right to be fed. However, if individuals are deprived of access to food for reasons beyond their control, for instance because of an armed conflict, natural disaster or because they are in detention, recognition of the right to life obliges States to provide them with sufficient food for their survival. On the one hand, economic access means that food should be affordable for an adequate diet without compromising other basic needs.
On the other hand, physically vulnerable, such as sick, children, disabled or elderly should also have access to food. Furthermore, any discrimination in access to food, as well as to means and entitlements for its procurement, on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, age, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status constitutes a violation of the right to food. There is a traditional distinction between two types of human rights. On the one hand, negative or abstract rights that are respected by non-intervention. On the other hand, positive or concrete rights that require resources for its realisation. However, it is nowadays contested whether it is possible to clearly distinguish between these two types of rights. The right to food can accordingly be divided into the negative right to obtain food by one’s own actions, and the positive right to be supplied with food if one is unable to access it.
This section provides an overview of international developments relevant to the establishment and implementation of the right to food from the mid-20th century onwards. Universal Declaration of Human Rights with regard to the right to an adequate standard of living and, in addition, specifically recognises the right to be free from hunger. 1976 – Entry into force of the Covenant. Covenant and beginning a more legal interpretation of the Covenant.
1999 – The Committee adopts General Comment No. The Right to Adequate Food’, describing the various State obligations derived from the Covenant regarding the right to food. States on how to implement their obligations on the right to food. Goal 1: to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015.
There are also such instruments in many national constitutions. There are several non-legally binding international human rights instruments relevant to the right to food. They include recommendations, guidelines, resolutions or declarations. They are a practical tool to help implement the right to adequate food. The Right to Food Guidelines are not legally binding but draw upon international law and are a set of recommendations States have chosen on how to implement their obligations under Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.