Civil society organisations under the umbrella of the Right to Food platform last week conducted a Right to Food training in Salima to create awareness among stakeholders in government and non-State actors.
The Right to Food platform is being implemented by the Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet), Dan Church Aid, Action Aid, Oxfam, Right to Food Network, Catholic Development Commission (Cadecom) and the Malawi Human Rights Commission under One UN Window for the Right to Food.
Human rights activist Billy Mayaya and Cisanet programme manager Alfred Kambwiri facilitated the training. Mayaya said the Right to Food centres wield the international legal obligation for States to respect, promote, protect and fulfil the right to food.
“These are legal obligations which Malawi as a State has committed to under international law,” he said.
“By committing to these obligations, Malawi commits itself in essence to progressively achieve the right to adequate food, the right to ensure that there is freedom from hunger and incremental commitment to food security. These obligations must be fulfilled by the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary.”
The platform is coordinating an advocacy following recommendations by the UN rapporteur on the right to food for the enactment of the framework law on the right to food.
“Malawi has a wide range of well-formulated and well-intended policies and strategies to accelerate progress in the realisation of the right to adequate food,” observed former UN special rapporteur on the right to food Olivier De Schutter following his visit to Malawi in 2013.
“What is missing, however, is a more solid framework to bring together and build synergies between the multiple policies, strategies and programmes.”
The right to adequate food is a fundamental and basic human right. Its realisation is a necessary precondition for the realisation of panoply of other rights such as the rights to health and education, among others.
The question of food and nutrition under the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi, however, is not merely a matter for and of programmatic policies or aspirations. It is also a matter of human rights.