UN welcomes order by Nepal’s Supreme Court to supply food to hungry

3 October 2008
Maja Devi Yadav with her family in a camp near the eastern flood area

Two United Nations agencies today welcomed a call issued by Nepal’s Supreme Court for food to be supplied to one dozen districts in the Asian nation’s mid- and far-western regions.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) hailed the 25 September order by the Court recognizing the “right to food sovereignty” in the Interim Constitution of Nepal, where 2.5 million people in rural areas are in urgent need of assistance due to surging food prices.

OHCHR and WFP acknowledge the Government is taking seriously the pressing issues of food shortages and rising food prices in these regions,” according to a press release.

They also noted that the Government has increased the portion of the budget allocated to the Nepal Food Corporation (NFC), a national body mandated to supply food to districts that need it most.

Over the past two years, WFP – working with the Government and aid partners – has fed some two million people in the mid- and far-western districts impacted by both natural and man-made disasters. The NFC distributes food to areas with larger populations, while the WFP focuses on more remote, rural areas.

“The enjoyment of the right to adequate food and freedom from hunger is of paramount importance for the enjoyment of all other rights, including the right to life, and it is crucial that national judicial organs regularly recognize this principle,” OHCHR and WFP said.

Nepal is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which recognizes the right of all “to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.”

WFP is also helping feed up to 170,000 people in the country’s west who have been displaced by severe flooding, which claimed more than 30 lives last month.

Flash floods have affected over 24,000 families in the worst hit districts of Kanchanpur and Kailali, and the agency is providing “mixed-commodity basket” of rice, lentils, vegetable oil and salt, as part of a $2.5 million emergency operation.


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