Professor Jean Ziegler of Switzerland, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, told a UN press conference in New York that in an era of both increased riches and increased misery, feeding the world’s people could not be left to market forces alone. “There has to be a right to food and a national and international mechanism to make it ‘realizable’ and ‘justiciable,'” he said.Mr. Ziegler said that despite estimates that enough food could be produced to feed 12 billion people, every seven seconds a child below the age of 10 died of hunger, and 815 million people were gravely undernourished to the extent that their brain functioning, growth, eyesight or other functions were permanently stunted.Such misery and inequality helped produce breeding grounds for fanaticism and terrorism, Mr. Ziegler said. While he was horrified by the atrocities of 11 September, the global coalition against terrorism needed to be complemented by a global coalition against hunger.In that regard, Mr. Ziegler said the US operation in Afghanistan was making a tragic mistake by using military planes to simultaneously drop bombs and food aid, the packets for which are coloured the same yellow as the cluster bombs and packaged aerodynamically to descend like snowflakes over the landscape.Besides the likelihood of the food aid landing in minefields or confiscated by those with the guns, Mr. Ziegler said, the credibility of all future humanitarian aid was endangered because food drops by US military planes violated most UN criteria for such actions. They must be “neutral, impartial and inspired by humanitarian concern,” he emphasized, otherwise, humanitarian workers would be falsely suspected of being associated with one of the parties in a conflict.The post of Special Rapporteur was created in 2000 with the mandate to seek, receive and respond to information on all aspects of the realization of the right to food – including the urgent necessity of eradicating hunger – and to identify emerging issues related to the right to food worldwide. The Special Rapporteur was also made responsible for establishing cooperation with governments and other institutions, particularly the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), on the promotion and effective implementation of the right to food. read more

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