Human right to food needs framework– Report

Year published: 25/11/2010

The Late Hastings Kamuzu Banda, first President of the Republic of Malawi, often emphasised the need for Mala-wians to always have enough food, decent clothing and to sleep in houses that did not leak, one President later, the emphasis on food security has resurfaced but a report on human rights and food ob-serves that something is miss-ing- the adoption of an over-arching human rights frame-work for the eradication of hunger.

The Report, titled The Human Right to Food in Malawi, by the International Centre for Human Rights and Democ-ratic Development and the Foodfirst Information and Action Network while credit-

ing the Government of Malawi with activities that could be said to be part of a human rights strategy, points to the absence of a human rights framework into which such activities could fitted. Says the report “While the Government of Malawi has in fact undertaken many activi-ties that would be included in a human rights strategy, for ex-ample the excellent policy coor-dination work being done by the Technical Secretariat of the Ministry of Agriculture, it has not placed them within the con-text of an overarching human rights framework”.

However the Report does not lay the blame squarely at the feet of Government. It observes that Government’s ability to take necessary steps is often

constrained by pressure and conflicting policy priorities imposed by the international community.

“At the same time, however, donors were not sufficiently sensitive to the human right to food or to their own responsi-bilities in ensuring the Govern-ment of Malawi meets its hu-man rights commitments. In fact, a sense of scepticism per-meated our discussions with donors about the value-added of human rights as an approach for hunger eradication”, says the Report.