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UN EXPERT ON RIGHT TO FOOD CONCERNED ABOUT THREAT OF FOOD AID CUTS FOR DISPLACED PEOPLE IN CHECHNYA AND AZERBAIJAN

HR/06/127
12 October 2006

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, issued the following statement today:

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, supports the calls made by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in July 2006 encouraging donors to continue providing funds for their operations in order to avoid further reductions in food rations and in the number of assisted persons in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation and Azerbaijan.

In the Chechen Republic, the number of displaced people assisted by food aid programmes has had to be considerably reduced, and food rations have been restricted to only wheat flour -- normal ration includes oil, sugar and salt. Due to lack of funding, there is a risk that food aid programmes could be stopped by the end of October.

Self-sufficiency for internally-displaced persons in Azerbaijan has been difficult to achieve and current food stocks would reportedly meet requirements only until October 2006, despite an already existing shortfall of peas and sugar. If no contributions are made urgently, food rations might need to be reduced further.

The Special Rapporteur recalls that under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, States parties have the obligation to respond quickly and in an appropriate manner to emergency food situations on the territory of a State Member of the United Nations. The Special Rapporteur requests that Member States immediately honour their legal obligations and ensure the realization of the right to food of displaced people in the Chechen Republic and in Azerbaijan, in close collaboration with the national authorities. This is urgently needed to guarantee access to sufficient and adequate food for the displaced persons. In addition, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food calls on the national authorities, in cooperation with the United Nations system, to address the problem of food security for these people in a long-term perspective through adequate policies and programmes.

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