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The International Food Security Treaty: Human Rights Law and the Eradication of World Hunger

John Teton, Director, International Food Security Treaty Campaign, will discuss “The International Food Security Treaty: Human Rights Law and the Eradication of World Hunger,” at 6 p.m., Oct. 7, in Room 128, Yale Law School.

A proposed treaty that aims to end hunger with the aid of international law, known as the International Food Security Treaty (IFST), will be described by John Teton, founder and director of the IFST Campaign.

In the more than half a century since the right to be free from hunger was established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the world has struggled to end hunger without the tool of strong law. The aid and development programs we’ve relied on instead have proven insufficient to eliminate malnutrition, which still results in a staggering annual death rate and continues to afflict more than one billion others.  And it’s not just the malnourished dying slow deaths who  suffer – hunger also fuels overpopulation, which in turn inflicts corollary damage on the world’s environment, economy, and urban, regional and international stability.

Based on existing international covenants, the IFST was developed in consultation with food security advocates from around the world. It is designed to be a legally binding international agreement, delineating the responsibilities of nations to prevent starvation and malnutrition, with enforcement provisions to ensure that they are carried out. Examples of legally prohibited activity would be the use of starvation as a weapon, as happened in Somalia in 1992, or channeling famine-preventing food supplies away from civilians to support military forces, as has happened more recently in North Korea and the Sudan.

United Nations Undersecretary-General Maurice Strong, an expert in global commerce and a veteran in the field of international law, has stated “I’m very sympathetic to (the IFST).as the centerpiece of a whole system by which the capacity of the earth to feed its people is translated into a real commitment to do something, because there’s no fundamental need for hunger now, and certainly none for starvation.”

This event is sponsored by the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights

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