An Oral Statement to the 31st Session of the UN Human Rights Council from the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) on Right to Food
The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) welcomes the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, and appreciates the effort made to highlight the status of women, a food insecure group in Asia.
The ALRC welcomes the emphasis on “respecting, protecting and fulfilling women’s rights” to fix “broader problems in food systems” and “development outcomes”.
Yet, without fundamental changes in public institutions in Asia to protect those rights, even with introduction of structural changes to fix skewed land and livelihood patterns, Asia’s women will remain food insecure.
The Report mentions a variety of statutory, customary, and cultural factors that burden women disproportionately, and especially so in times of emergency, for instance, climate change or land grabs.
However, the ALRC is of the opinion that the recommendations of the Rapporteur, such as for policies that support more women to enter the labour market, are misdirected.
True, broader problems in food systems and development outcomes can only be impacted if women’s rights are respected; but these rights can only be upheld in Asia, if state institutions are functional. And, ALRC notes that public and justice institutions across Asia are dysfunctional and corrupt.
Can the woman whose land is being grabbed by a private corporation in India or the Philippines, or by a Chinese state corporation backed by the Military in Myanmar, approach any public institution for redress? Can the children of a poor Indian woman farmer who has committed suicide approach any institution for compensation given that she is not even recognized as a farmer by policy?
In light of this, has the Rapporteur engaged with member states to ensure that public institutions, in particular, the justice institutions, are capable of protecting women’s rights and thereby ensuring food security?
Thank you, Mr. President.
Webcast video: Link. Please scroll down to number 9 of the List of Speakers, and click on Asian Legal Resource Centre.