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Brazil: Follow up visit by UN expert on the right to food


GENEVA (9 October 2009) -- The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Mr. Olivier De Schutter, will visit Brazil from 12 to 18 October 2009, as the country is completing a broad, nation-wide discussion on the insertion of the right to food in the Constitution.

"The adoption of such an amendment would confirm Brazil’s leading role on the legal implementation of the right to food," said De Schutter, who will visit the country at the invitation of the Government.

"The Brazilian experience in implementing policies to combat hunger is unique", stressed the UN expert, who will assess during his mission the impact of the Federal Organic Law on Food and Nutritional Security, which set up a national system of food and nutrition security.

"My visit should serve to identify how the wealth of policies designed in Brazil to support family agriculture, to improve access to food and water for those in need, to feed children in schools and to improve storage of food in rural areas, can serve to inspire other countries launching similar national strategies."

De Schutter’s predecessor as a Special Rapporteur, Jean Ziegler, visited Brazil in 2002. "As this is a follow-up visit, I intend to examine the current status of realization of the right to food on the basis of developments since my predecessor issued his recommendations*," said the UN expert.

"This will also include a number of issues Brazil is facing," the Rapporteur added, "such as the impact of export-led agriculture, and bioethanol production in particular, on poverty reduction in rural areas."

As in other countries, the independent expert will devote special attention to the question of access to land for landless labourers and to land concentration. The institutions that protect the right to food, including the commission set up in the Secretariat of the National Council for the Defense of the Rights of the Human Person (CDDPH) to examine allegations of violations of the right to food and the National Rapporteur on the Human Rights to Food, Water and Rural Land will also be a major focus.

During his visit, the Special Rapporteur will participate in a seminar on "Claims mechanisms for the right to food and the national system on food and nutrition security" organized by the Ministry for Social Development and the Fight against Hunger. In addition, the visit involves meetings with Government authorities, civil society and representatives of the international community.

The information gathered during this mission will result in a report with recommendations, which will be submitted to the Human Rights Council.

A press conference will be held in Brasilia on Friday 16 October at 1400, at the Hotel Sonesta (TBC). Further details will be provided during the mission.

Olivier De Schutter has been the Special Rapporteur on the right to food since May 2008. He is a Professor of Law at the University of Louvain in Belgium and at the College of Europe in Warsaw, Poland. He replaced Mr. Jean Ziegler who was Special Rapporteur on the right to food between 2000 and 2008.

(*) Link to previous visits and recommendations by Special Rapporteurs on the right to food: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/food/visits.htm