Resolution on the Right to Food in Africa

The Ngo Forum meeting in Ezulwini (Swaziland) on the occasion of the 43rd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR),

Recalling that the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights guarantees economic, social and cultural rights, and recalling the indivisibility, interdependence and universality of all human rights;

Considering equally that the aims and objectives of the Constitutional Act of the African Union engage Members States to support the promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights, respect for democratic principles, the rule of law, good governance and the promotion of social justice in order to ensure equal economic development;

Recalling that the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa guarantees the right to food security (Article 15);

Recalling that the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child guarantees the right to the best possible standard of health which includes a sufficiently nutritious diet (Article 14);

Considering the decision of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights 155/96 (Social and Economic Rights Action Center, Center for Economic and Social Rights vs Nigeria) which recognises that the right to food is implicitly guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;

Recalling that the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights guarantees the right to an adequate standards of living which includes the right to adequate food and recognises in this regard the importance of international cooperation freely entered into;

Profoundly concerned by the escalation of prices of basic and essential foodstuffs at the international level in Africa - resulting notably in an increased global demand, climate conditions which negatively affect harvests and the increasing demand for agricultural fuel – aggravating the food crisis in Africa which has shown itself in particular in protests against the high cost of living in many countries of Africa notably in Egypt, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Cameroon;

Recognising the numerous constraints which limit the full enjoyment of the right to food in Africa, and the lack of investments and support to African agriculture, its vulnerability before climate change and the dependence of numerous African countries on the importation of food,
Noting the existence of a Working Group in the African Commission charged with developing principles and Guidelines on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,

The NGO Forum call on the ACHPR, to adopt a resolution:

Expressing its great concern over the violent repression of the demonstrations against the hight cost of living in many countries of Africa, and calling on states to respect the rights of freedom of expression and association;

Calling on states to ensure that they take all necessary measures to respect the right to adequate food, notably by adopting national strategies and specific laws to implement this right, even urgently, by using international assistance and cooperation;

Calling on the Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to present without delay its principles and guidelines on economic, social and cultural rights;

Encouraging civil society organisations to transmit to the Working Group reports on violations of economic, social and cultural rights;

Calling on states to ensure that the provisions of the trade agreements currently under negotiation at the WTO aimed at achieving the Doha Round, and that the provisions of the Economic Partnership Agreements under negotiation with the EU, do not undermine but on the contrary contribute to the principles of the main regional and international instruments for the protection of human rights and in particular for the right to food, that independent and participative impact studies be carried out, and that appropriate safeguard clauses allowing the protection of agriculture be carried out;

Calling on states to protect the right to food by controlling multinational companies at each stages of food production and supply.

Done in Ezulwini, Kingdom of Swaziland.

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