MADHYA PRADESH HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
SUMMER INTERNSHIP -2012
TOPIC: HUMAN RIGHTS- RIGHT TO FOOD
I owe a great many thanks to a great many people who helped and supported me during the preparation of this project. My deepest thanks to the Deputy Secretary Mr. Kuldeep Jain, the guide of the project for guiding and correcting various documents of my research with due attention and care. He has taken to go through the project and make necessary changes as and when needed. I also thank other staff and members of MPHRC for extending their support whenever I was in need of it. My deep sense of gratitude to my institute, National Law Unversity, Odisha for providing me ...view middle of the document...
The right is derived from the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which has 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. At the 1996 World Food Summit, governments reaffirmed the right to food and committed themselves to half the number of hungry and malnourished from 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. At present, 22 countries have enshrined the right to food in their constitution, either for all citizens or specifically for children. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognizes the "right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food", as well as the "fundamental right to be free from hunger". The
relationship between the two concepts is not straightforward. For example, "freedom from hunger" (which General Comment 12 designates as more pressing and immediate) could be measured by the number of people suffering from malnutrition and at the extreme, dying of starvation. The "right to adequate food" is a much higher standard, including not only absence of malnutrition, but to the full range of qualities associated with food, including safety, variety and dignity, in short all those elements needed to enable an active and healthy life. Inspired by the above definition, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food in 2002 defined it as follows: "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 definition entails all normative elements explained in detail in the General Comment 12 of the ICESCR, which states: "...the right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman and child, alone or in community with others, have the physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement." According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the right to food does not imply that governments have an obligation to hand out free food to everyone who wants it. This is a common misconception. "The right to food . . . is not the right to be fed, but the right to feed oneself in dignity. However, if individuals are deprived of access to food for reasons beyond their control, recognition of the right to life obliges States to provide them with sufficient food for their survival."
The former Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, defined three dimensions to...