27 December, Kathmandu 2016

Human Rights advocates shed light the significance of rights to food at a conference concluded in Kathmandu. A three days event was organized by Justice and Rights Institute Nepal (JuRI – Nepal), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Geneva-based the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It was aimed at exploring the elements of economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR), in particular in relation to rights to food that could warn against the escalation of rights violations, conflict, and social unrest as well as the preventative measures.

Addressing the event, Hon. Prakash Osti, Commissioner at National Human Rights Commission said that the focus should be on production, distribution, quality of food and food habit to protect and promote the rights to food. “Unless adequate attention is given to unpack the root causes of conflict and genuine efforts are made towards addressing it, room remains for social unrest that ultimately undermines Nepal’s goal of securing the sustainable peace,” stated Raju Prasad Chapagain, Chairperson JuRI-Nepal, “It is therefore high time for the government to ensure enjoyment of ESCR, including the rights to food through adopting legislative and administrative measures”.

“There is increasing evidence that ESCR violations are causes, consequences and often even predictors of an escalation of rights violations and conflict,” highlighted, Rio Hada of OHCHR Geneva, “However, despite the obvious connection between ESCR and social unrest there is a persistent oversight in recognizing these human rights in existing early warning and conflict prevention mechanisms”.

Presenting a paper, former Attorney General Advocate Hari Phuyal stated that food scarcity could be a possible reason to trigger next conflict. He reminded that 18 of the 40-point demand of former rebel party CPN (Maoist) submitted to the government were related to food security.

The conference was chaired by Hon. Prakash Osti, and participated National Dalit Commission, National Women Commission, Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, Ministry of Agriculture Development, FAO, UNDP, Right to Food Network, as well as civil society organizations working in promotion of right to food.