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First visit to South Africa by UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food

GENEVA (5 July 2011) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, will conduct an official mission to South Africa from 7 to 15 July 2011 to understand the steps taken by the authorities to implement the right to food. According to recent data, about 14 per cent of the population is still vulnerable to food insecurity in the country and 25 per cent of children under the age of six have had their development stunted by malnutrition.

“South Africa has been a pioneer in demonstrating the justiciability of the right to food by enshrining this right in its constitution as well as national legislative frameworks,” Mr. De Schutter, “but immense challenges remain. This visit will seek to assess how the country protects the right to food, and its efforts aimed at addressing the remaining challenges in making the right to food a reality for all.”

“I will also examine food policies and programmes that impact on the right to food, for example in the areas of social protection and support to agriculture. The experience of South Africa in agrarian reform, the role of the agribusiness sector and of international trade agreements also will be particularly interesting to study,” the UN independent expert remarked.

During his nine-day mission, Mr. De Schutter will meet with Government officials and experts as well as with representatives of the United Nations system and civil society organizations. Besides meetings in the capital, Pretoria, he will visit Alexandra and Diepsloot townships and KwaZulu-Natal province. His findings and recommendations will be presented in a report to the Human Rights Council.

The Special Rapporteur will present his preliminary observations on the mission at a press conference at 11:30 on 15 July 2011 at the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Library at the Metro Park Building in Pretoria.

Immediately following the conclusion of his mission to South Africa, the Special Rapporteur will undertake an official visit to Madagascar (18 to 22 July 2011) at the invitation of the Government.

ENDS

Olivier De Schutter was appointed the Special Rapporteur on the right to food in May 2008 by the United Nations Human Rights Council. He is independent from any government or organization.

Learn more about the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur, visit http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/food/index.htm or www.srfood.org

OHCHR Country Page – South Africa: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/ZAIndex.aspx

For further information and media requests, please contact:

- Geneva: Yoonie Kim or Ulrik Halsteen (Tel: +41 79 752 04 85 / +41 79 444 49 17 / email: srfood@ohchr.org)
- Pretoria: Sudeshan Reddy (Tel: +27 12 354 8507 / +27 82 563 5286 / email: sudeshan.reddy@unic.org) or Niraj Dawadi (Tel: +27 12 354 8684 / email: ndawadi@ohchr.org)

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