Right to Health and Food

A United Nations report on tackling inequities in food, nutrition and health outcomes, recommends a rights-based approach.

The report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng, concluded that “The intersection of the right to health and right to food is central to achieving substantive equality and realising sustainable development, human rights, lasting peace and security.”

In her report to the General Assembly, Dr Mofokeng analysed access to food and nutrition and related clinical and health outcomes and how they reflect power asymmetries and policy and regulatory frameworks.

She also noted that inequities reflect historic and persistent patterns of discrimination and disempowerment, including on the basis of race, ethnicity, class, sex and gender. She stressed that Indigenous Peoples, women, children and infants face significantly higher risks of malnutrition and related health outcomes.

“Ultra-processed products, with marketing strategies that disproportionately target children, racial and ethnic minorities, and people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, have replicated colonial power structures and dynamics, with traditional diets and food cultures being replaced by diets largely shaped by corporations headquartered in historically powerful and wealthy countries,” she said. Advocacy Action: Can you raise the report in a debate in your Parliament? Use it to support improvements to health policy and food security? If appropriate, can you link the conclusions to foreign or foreign aid policy?