SHRC – Human Right to Food Should Be Enshrined into Scots Law

17 April, 2019

In a report to the Scottish Government, the Scottish Human Rights Commission has recommended the right to food be enshrined into law in Scotland to protect people from rising food insecurity and the impacts of Brexit. The report also calls for public authorities to address inequalities in people’s access to adequate food.

Household food insecurity in Scotland is unacceptably high, with parents and carers too often relying on food banks, many children are going hungry during school holidays. Health inequalities are also stark with none of Scotland’s dietary goals being met.

Supply, affordability, and accessibility of food are highlighted in the report as the key challenges facing people across Scotland. These challenges are increasing due to rising economic insecurity, the continued impact of austerity-driven reductions in social security, climate change, and the way food is produced, distributed and marketed.

Food is vital to each and every person and to society as a whole. The report draws from international human rights law definitions of the right to food and government obligations to ensure food is accessible, adequate and available to everyone. It echoes recommendations from the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to put in place a national framework law to protect and realise the right to food.

Judith Robertson, Chair of the Commission, said:

“International law is clear that governments have obligations to take action to ensure people’s right to food is realised.

“The Scottish Human Rights Commission is calling on the Government to take action to incorporate the right to food into Scotland’s laws as part of its work to make Scotland a Good Food Nation. We want to see the Scottish Government showing human rights leadership in a practical way. Bringing this kind of law into force would respond directly to recommendations from the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

“We have the opportunity in Scotland to take a rights-based approach to the food system as a whole and to make people’s right to food more meaningful in practice by putting it into law. There is a real urgency to take these progressive steps now.”

Read the full report submitted to the Scottish Government consultation on Good Food Nation Proposals


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