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Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food
Implementation of General Assembly Resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006 entitled "Human Rights Council"
19 January 2007
Jean Ziegler
United Nations - General Assembly

Acknowledgements: FANRPAN acknowledges the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights website as the source of this report: www.ohchr.org/english


Summary

The Special Rapporteur on the right to food is gravely concerned to report to the Human Rights Council that global levels of hunger continue to rise. The number of people suffering from hunger has increased to 854 million people and has been rising every year since 1996. Virtually no progress has been made in reducing hunger, despite the commitments made by Governments in 1996 at the first World Food Summit and again at the Millennium Summit in 2000. More than 6 million children still die every year before their fifth birthday.

This is unacceptable. All human beings have the right to live in dignity, free from hunger.

In this report, the Special Rapporteur commends a number of positive developments by Governments in combating hunger. However, he also calls the attention of the Human Rights Council to situations of serious concern related to the right to food, especially in the Darfur region of the Sudan, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the Horn of Africa countries and in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The Special Rapporteur also focuses on the silent tragedy of children suffering and dying from hunger and malnutrition. Without adequate food and nutrition during their first five years, children suffer from physical stunting and limited intellectual development, condemning them to early death or a marginal existence for the rest of their lives. Without respect for their right to food, children become involved in forced labour to help feed themselves and their families, including recruitment as child soldiers. Thousands of children make decisions to enlist in armed groups as a result of hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity, yet this is rarely discussed. Children’s right to food must be the priority in efforts to combat hunger and guarantee peace.

Hunger forces tens of thousands of people to flee their own countries, particularly from sub-Saharan Africa. The Special Rapporteur calls the Council’s attention to Africa’s “refugees from hunger” and the criminalization of their forced migration. In 2006, tens of thousands of people who risked their lives to flee hunger continued to be deported to their countries of origin, even if their lives would be again at risk from hunger and famine. The Special Rapporteur believes that legal protection must be extended to these “refugees from hunger”, as only then will Governments take seriously their obligations to respect, protect and fulfil the right to food of all human beings around the world.

The report ends with a series of recommendations for Governments regarding the realization of the right to food.

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