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The right to food
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler*
The report opens with an overview of the current situation of world hunger, reviews the activities of the Special Rapporteur and then addresses current situations of special concern with regard to the right to food, as well as positive initiatives being taken, including the ground-breaking progress that has been made with the adoption of internationally accepted voluntary guidelines. Finally, the report explores the emerging issue of “extraterritorial” responsibilities in relation to the right to food.
The Special Rapporteur is gravely concerned at persistent, man-made violations of the right to food that persist across the world. Current situations of special concern include the Darfur region of the Sudan, the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in Iraq and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. He is also concerned about widespread hunger and loss of livelihoods caused by natural disasters and the failures to respond fully to the need for aid in situations such as the locust infestations across West Africa. The Special Rapporteur also draws the attention of the Commission to the situations in Ethiopia and in Mongolia, where the fight against hunger and food insecurity is not being won, despite the efforts of those Governments and the international agencies.
13. The Special Rapporteur has also made repeated requests to undertake country missions to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Myanmar, but has received no response from these Governments. He has also continued to issue urgent appeals and press statements, individually and jointly with other special rapporteurs, in urgent situations related to the right to adequate food in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Romania, Zimbabwe, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Sudan. The Special Rapporteur has also written to Governments seeking information on alleged violations of the right to adequate food, including regarding particular cases in India, Myanmar and the Philippines. Replies from the Governments concerned, except for the Governments of India and Romania, were still awaited at the time this report was submitted.
20. The situation of violations of the right to food in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by the occupying forces also continues to be a concern (see A/59/385). In response to Commission on Human Rights resolution 2004/19, in which the Commission urged not only States, but also private actors, to promote the effective realization of the right to food, the Special Rapporteur wrote to the Caterpillar corporation. He expressed concern that, supplying its specially modified and armed D-9 and D-10 bulldozers to the occupying army, in full knowledge that they will be used to destroy farmland, greenhouses, crops and olive groves as well as water installations, might amount to complicity with violations of the right to adequate food. Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have now launched campaigns regarding the sale of such weaponized bulldozers by Caterpillar. A representative from Human Rights Watch stated that: “Until Israel stops these practices, Caterpillar’s continued sales will make the company complicit in human rights abuses.” The California-based organization, Jewish Voice for Peace, has also filed a sharehold resolution requesting Caterpillar to review the sales of its equipment where this violated the corporations own Code of Worldwide Business Conduct.
15Human Rights Watch, Human Rights News New York, 23 November 2004 at http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2004/11/22/isrlpa9711.htm.