What is right to food?
The right to food means that Governments must not take actions that result in increasing levels of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. It also means that Governments must protect people from the actions of others that might violate the right to food. Governments must also, to the maximum of available resources, invest in eradicating hunger. The right to food is not about charity, but about ensuring that all people have the capacity to feed themselves in dignity.
The right to food is a human right and is a binding obligation well-established under international law, recognised in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as a plethora of other instruments. The right to food has also been recognised in numerous national constitutions. The right to food has been well defined in the General Comment No. 12 of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This defines the right to food as : “the right of every man, woman and child alone and in community with others to have physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement in ways consistent with human dignity.”
Under article 2(1) of the International Covenant on ESCR States agreed to take steps to the maximum of their available resources to achieve progressively the full realisation of the right to adequate food. Under article 2(2) of the Covenant States agreed to guarantee that the right to food will be exercised without discrimination. Finally, under article 3 of the Covenant States agreed to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of the right to food.