Weakening of human rights standards requires urgent action
On the occasion of Human Rights Day, FIAN International warns international human rights standards and coherence are undergoing a crisis that is spilling over into right to food and nutrition policy spaces.
On this day 68 years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This event would make way for other international and regional instruments and policy spaces to flourish and advance peoples’ rights. While advocating for and promoting human rights has always entailed scores of challenges, it has become even more complex since the 90s.
New governance structures have emerged and the private sector has gained ground in policy spaces, at the same time that public underfunding has become a chronic disease on the area. This combination is leading human rights systems and policy spaces such as the Committee on world Food Security (CFS) , to risk their integrity and ability to act according to their main mandate.
An aggressive accumulation by dispossession at a global scale and the consequent weakening of human rights develop within a context of rising xenophobic and nationalist right-wing movements and parties across the world, as fear-driven, anti-establishment populism drives us into an era where the rights of all peoples are not a priority.
Human Rights Day is the perfect occasion to call on States to comply with their human rights obligations and on the peoples to mobilize and take human rights in their hands in the struggle for sovereignty.
Current human rights systems crisis
The UN and regional human rights systems are under ever-increasing pressure. While a prospective reduction of the Human Rights Council’s budget is on the cards, the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) just underwent its most critical financial crisis. States have the (financial) obligation to provide a system that ensures protection against abuse, injustice and violations of fundamental rights. Its full functioning must be a given.
Beyond the chronic syndrome of underfunding, the commitment of some States to their human rights obligations is also fading away: some African countries (Burundi, South Africa) have announced that they will withdraw from the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court. This emerging trend is a red flag for the existing human rights framework that needs to be counterattacked.
Threats to right to food policy spaces
This crisis also . Many countries still disregard human rights as the foundation of food and nutrition policy making. This adds to the lingering public underfunding, which leads to increasing influence by the corporate sector in shaping food systems. These two issues, together and independently, not only pose a risk for the integrity of the public policy spaces but also for its ability to act in line with its mandate over other interests. spills over into right to food and nutrition policy spaces
To ensure the structural causes of food insecurity and malnutrition are addressed, the groups most affected must remain center stage in any decision-making processes and policy spaces It is time to take human rights in our hands in the struggle to defend people’s sovereignty.