Working definition right to food

Altough the definition of the right to food is debated, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food has defined a working definition:

“The rights to food is the right to have regular, permanent and free 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 ensures a physical and mental, individual and collective, fulfilling and dignified life free of fear.” (see also Extract of Reports)

The right to food is directly addressed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966). In article 11 governments

“recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food… and the continuous improvement of living conditions.”

This means governments have an obligation to secure the access to adequate food and water to eliminate hunger, malnutrition and starvation.

The right to food is closely linked to the rule of law. Equality before law has little meaning when the basic human equality that comes with adequate food and water is denied. In fact, law enforcement agencies often become instruments to suppress aspirations to equality, and in so doing commit gross violation of human rights.