Progress on The Right To Food

It’s right there in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Article 25 says

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

But who’s going to deliver the right to food? As Jeremy Bentham famously observed, the idea of rights without some organisation entrusted to make sure they’re delivered is ‘nonsense upon stilts’.

Over in Germany, the FIAN group are trying to promote the right to food through international organisations such as the United Nations. This is a more fruitful route to follow than you might think. Although the UN isn’t about to make the US, for instance, ensure that it feeds the 35 million people US citizens who go hungry every year, the aim is to make it sufficiently embarrassing for rich countries to ignore their commitments under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and a host of other conventions, through which these countries claim the mantle of civilisation.

Hot off the presses is FIAN’s progress update, Vol 2.1, of their Right to Food Progress Report. Well worth a look for the international organisation junkies out there.

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