Right to Food expert summit in Nairobi to assess progress/challenges in Eastern and Southern Africa

NAIROBI / GENEVA (2 April 2012) – More than 45 food experts, parliamentarians, national human rights institutions and policy-makers from Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe will meet on 4-5 April in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss how to strengthen the protection of the right to food in the region.

The meeting, convened by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, with the support of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, will seek to pool experiences and build knowledge on human rights approaches to tackling hunger in Eastern and Southern Africa.

“Fighting hunger and malnutrition is not merely a charitable cause but rather a matter of empowering people to claim their rights and to hold Governments accountable,” the Special Rapporteur stressed.

“Several countries in the region have been adopting constitutional provisions as well as national framework laws, strategies, policies and programmes to strengthen the protection of the right to food,” De Schutter said. “South Africa has been leading the way with the inclusion of the right to food in its post-apartheid Constitution, and more recently this right was included in the Kenyan Constitution approved by a popular referendum in 2010.”

His first regional Right to Food expert consultation was held last year in Bogotá, Colombia, with representatives from Latin America and the Caribbean. There, experts from different organizations and institutions, both governmental and non-governmental, parliaments and national human rights institutions, exchanged their experiences on progress made and ways to overcome remaining challenges in implementing the right to food.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food will give a press conference at 12.30 pm on Thursday 5 April 2012, at Hotel InterContinental - Nairobi.

Olivier De Schutter was appointed the Special Rapporteur on the right to food in May 2008 by the United Nations Human Rights Council. He is independent from any government or organization. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Food/Pages/FoodIndex.aspx or www.srfood.org

For more information and media requests, please contact Patterson Siema, UNDP Kenya Communications Specialist, Nairobi (+254 020 7625357 / +254 020 7625357 / 0725058820 / patterson.siema@undp.org).

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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