Food as a fundamental human right
Like all historical processes, human rights have evolved over time, becoming more complex and broader as the recognition of human dignity has spread throughout the world. Thus, according to the historical context in which they appeared, it is possible to speak of fist-generation civil and political rights; second-generation economic, social and cultural rights and third-generation solidarity rights.
Economic, social and cultural rights, known as ESCR, are included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and their protection is stipulated in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) of 1966. These rights are:
- The right to adequate housing
- The right to water and sanitation
- The right to health (social assistance, medical care, social security and health coverage)
- The right to an adequate education
- The right to adequate food
- The right to work (including the right to strike and freedom to choose employment)
- The right to defend and preserve culture and the access to it
- The right to a healthy environment
Each right implies an obligation of the State, and other non-state actors, such as companies, to respect and protect it, to fulfill it and to guarantee it. Without the full exercise of ESCR, people’s freedom is restricted, their security is threatened and their exposure to exploitation and social exclusion increases significantly.
Despite the internationally recognized legal framework, at present about 795 million people worldwide lack sufficient and quality food to lead a healthy and active life. That is almost one in nine people on earth. This situation is even more incomprehensible if we consider that so much food has never been produced in history. The problem is not the lack but the access to food. For this reason, at the request of FAO, the right to healthy and nutritious food has been reaffirmed since 1996, in line with the right to adequate food and the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger.
In Mexico there are more than 54 million people who still live in poverty and suffer food shortages. As The Hunger Project points out in its 2015 report:
Ending hunger and poverty by 2030 is only possible if we transform existing policies, if we work with ambition to overcome inequality … and we use the latest advances in research and technology to innovate and share best practices. This strategy requires a break in the way of working towards inclusive and fair sustainable development for all.
The stark image of the rural crisis and poverty in Mexico in the second decade of the twenty-first century is clearly expressed in the traditionally poorer entities (Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca), which in 2012 added nearly four million people with hungry.
Faced with this very painful reality, in Amigos de San Cristobal we are proud to support three organizations that are implementing projects to strengthen food sovereignty in various regions of our state:
CARITAS DE SAN CRISTOBAL
PROJECT SUMMARY: To continue the activities for the improvement of maternal and child nutrition in the neighborhood of Las Flores of Ejido Candelaria, municipality of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, through follow-up on the feeding of children. Also, two promoters will be trained in health, weight and height cases; as well as 4 promoters for the production of minor species, horticulture and food processing in preserved fruits and vegetables.
ENLACE, COMUNICACION Y CAPACITACION
PROJECT SUMMARY: Promotion of nutritional and food education in families of 7 peasant and indigenous communities in Las Margaritas Canadas, the Montebello Lakes area and Border area, in order to improve nutrition and agro-ecological production.
Taller de nutrición en San José Las Palmas, Lagos de Montebello.
ASOCIACION DE PRODUCTORES LA JORNADA
Project Summary: Strengthening of food sovereignty, through the construction of 1 well for water filtration and 1 tank to store it; 1 oven for bread; a laboratory for the production of natural medicines; and breeding of lambs and rabbits.
 El estado de la inseguridad alimentaria en el mundo, informe de la Organización de las Naciones para la Alimentación y la Agricultura. Información del Programa Mundial de Alimentos de la ONU, 2015.
 Reporte anual 2015, The Hunger Project Mexico.
 Daniel Villafuerte Solís, Crisis rural, pobreza y hambre en Chiapas, 2014. Article published on the internet.