On World Food Day, Human Rights Watch calls for immediate support to vulnerable groups

Human Rights Watch is calling on governments and the international community to provide immediate support to the most vulnerable, by increasing funding for emergency food assistance and expanding social protection systems.

This came on the occasion of World Food Day, which the world celebrates on October 16 of each year, to commemorate the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1945.

The organization said that other influential actors, such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and creditor countries, should work to not exacerbate the crisis by pushing countries to implement austerity measures in their economic recovery plans for COVID-19.

The organization warned that access to adequate food is a basic human right. She said increasing funding for social protection and ensuring that food is available and affordable is key to “ensuring that no one is truly left behind”.

This year’s theme, “Leave No One Behind,” is a call to action by governments, UN agencies, private actors and humanitarian organizations, to ensure the human right to food.

Under international human rights law, everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, and the right to be free from hunger.

The FAO 2022 Global Report on Food Crises estimates that 193 million people in 53 countries are food insecure and need urgent assistance. Millions more around the world are facing soaring staple food prices, spurred by the COVID-19, turmoil and conflicts such as the war in Ukraine.

In Afghanistan, just under half of the country, nearly 19 million people, suffer from high levels of food insecurity, with more than 34,000 children hospitalized for acute malnutrition in 2022, according to the World Health Organization.

The consequences of malnutrition can last a lifetime, and include stunting, delayed growth and a weakened immune system.

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