Mission to Malaysia: UN expert to assess right to food challenges in a fast-emerging economy

GENEVA (4 December 2013) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, will carry out a visit to Malaysia from 9 to 18 December 2013, to assess the realization of the right to food in the country.

“Malaysia has achieved impressive economic growth and poverty reduction over recent decades,” Mr. De Schutter said, announcing the first visit to the country by an independent expert on the right to food designated by the UN Human Rights Council. “But as the country grows wealthier, it must ask a new set of questions.”

“Have all population groups been able to benefit from this growth? Do the poorest have secure access to productive resources, and do they have a social safety net? Is the current path socially and environmentally sustainable? Are shifting diets creating new problems such as obesity?”

“For a fast-emerging economy like Malaysia, the challenge is to ensure that no one is left behind and cut off from the benefits of development,” the expert stressed. “The challenge is to ensure that the right to food is realized for everyone in the country.”

The Special Rapporteur will visit both West and East Malaysia (Sabah), giving particular attention to those who are in vulnerable situations, such as indigenous groups, and to key sectors, such as palm oil, with multiple impacts on employment, livelihoods and land use.

During his nine-day visit, undertaken at the invitation of the Government, Mr. De Schutter will meet with Government officials and experts as well as with representatives of civil society and the UN System in locations across the country.

The Special Rapporteur will present his preliminary observations on the visit at a press conference at Hotel Parkroyal (Jalan Sultan Ismail), Kuala Lumpur, on 18 December at 12:00 pm.

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 http://www.srfood.org

OHCHR Country Page – Malaysia: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/MYIndex.aspx

For more information and press inquiries, please contact:
Ms. Juanita Joseph (Malaysia): Tel +60 3 2091 5114 / juanita.joseph@one.un.org
Ulrik Halsteen (Geneva): +41 22 917 9323 (before and after the visit) /
+41 79 444 4332 (mobile number in Malaysia) / srfood@ohchr.org

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

UN Human Rights, follow us on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unitednationshumanrights
Twitter: http://twitter.com/UNrightswire
Google+ gplus.to/unitednationshumanrights
Storify: http://storify.com/UNrightswire

Watch “20 years of human rights - the road ahead”: http://youtu.be/yW7s-Q8S14E