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Deconstructing Dinner – “The Right to Food”

July 27, 2009

July 23, 2009

(First aired on September 18, 2008)

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2008 marked the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Food and human rights are not oftened placed together in the same dialogue, however, Article 25 of the Declaration states: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food…”

One concept that originates from the idea of a “right to food” is that of food sovereignty; whereby people have the right to determine what foods are available to them. The right to food and food sovereignty are undermined every day both here and abroad. The recent spike in the global food crisis is a clear indicator of this.

Looking at food through a human rights lens was the subject of a dialogue that took place on August 29, 2008 at the United Nations in New York City. Titled “The Human Right to Food and the Global Food Crisis”, the event was sponsored by The Office of the High Commisioner for Human Rights, the Department of Public Information, the NGO Committee on Human Rights and the Permanent Missions of Cuba and Malawi.


Olivier De Schutter, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, United Nations (New York, NY) – Since being appointed in March 2008, De Schutter has been reporting to the General Assembly of the United Nations and the Human Rights Council. He is a specialist in human rights and works for the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium and the College of Europe in Poland. He’s currently a Visiting Professor at Columbia University in New York.

Flavio Valente, Secretary General, FIAN International (Rome, Italy) – FIAN (FoodFirst Information Action Network), is an international human rights organization that for more than 20 years has advocated for the realization of the right to food. FIAN is represented in over 50 countries and has consultative status to the United Nations. Their headquarters are in Heidelberg, Germany.

Joia Mukharjee, Policy Director, Partners in Health (Boston, MA) – PIH was founded in 1987 to deliver health care to the residents of the mountainous Central Plateau of Haiti. In the 20 years since then, they have expanded into many more sites in the country and have launched initiatives in Peru, Lesotho, Russia, Rwanda, Guatemala and Malawi.

Karen Hansen-Kuhn, Policy Director, ActionAID USA (Washington D.C.) – ActionAid is an international anti-poverty agency whose aim is to fight poverty worldwide. Formed in 1972, they have helped over 13 million of the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged people in 42 countries. The International headquarters are in Johannesburg South Africa.

Sanjay Reddy, Assistant Professor of Economics, Barnard College at Columbia University (New York, NY) – Reddy also teaches in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, where he teaches courses on world poverty and on development economics.

Musical Selection (name/title/album/label)
Theme/Soundclips: – Adham Shaikh, Infusion, Fusion, Sonic Turtle (CDN)
Music – Lee Perry & Winston Heywood and the Upsetters, Backbiting, Produced and Directed by the Upsetter, Pressure Sounds



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