Scottish Human Rights Commission calls on Scottish Government to enshrine right to food in law

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 15 April 2019 in News

SHRC uses a new report to call on public authorities to address inequalities in people’s access to adequate food

Image credit: Glasgow foodbank

The right to food should be enshrined in Scots law, according to a new report from the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC).

With international human rights law outlining government obligations to ensure that food is accessible, adequate and available to everyone, the SHRC has used a new report to call on public authorities to address inequalities in people’s access to adequate food.

The report warns the right to food is not currently being realised, with household food insecurity unacceptably high, while the SHRC also highlighted examples of children experiencing food insecurity, with parents and carers too often relying on emergency food banks and going hungry during school holidays.

The report states that none of Scotland’s dietary goals are being met and health inequalities are stark.

Meanwhile the SHRC found that challenges to the supply, affordability and accessibility of food for people across Scotland are increasing because of rising economic insecurity, the continued impact of austerity-driven reductions in social security, climate change, and the way that food is produced, distributed and marketed.

SHRC chair Judith Robertson 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.”

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