What is the Human Right to Food?

The right to food guarantees freedom from hunger and access to safe and nutritious food. Several key human rights principles are fundamental to guaranteeing the right to food:  

Availability: Food should be available in a quantity and quality sufficient to satisfy the dietary needs of individuals, free from adverse substances, and acceptable within a given culture.

Accessibility: Food should be physically and economically accessible in ways that do not interfere with the enjoyment of other human rights.

Sustainability: Food should be secure, or accessible, for both present and future generations.

Non-Discrimination: Any discrimination in access to food, as well as to means and entitlements for its procurement, on the grounds of race, color, 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.

The right to food is protected in:

In addition, there are United Nations committees (“treaty bodies”) made up of experts that oversee the implementation of particular human rights treaties. These committees oversee the treaties by, among other things, receiving government reports on the implementation of the treaties, making comments to the government reports, and issuing general comments about the treaties or specific rights contained therein.

The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights has issued a general comment on food.

Further Resources

To learn more about human right to food, click here.

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