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call for input | Special Procedures

Call for input: Violence and the right to food

Issued by

Special Rapporteur on the right to food

Last updated

02 February 2023


Submissions now online (See below)

Purpose: To inform the Human Rights Council report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, focusing on the nature, degree, and cause of violence present in food systems.


Violence is endemic across all food systems in times of peace, conflict, and war. In his next report to the Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food will focus on reporting on the nature, degree, and cause of violence present in food systems. Member States, international organizations, civil society and other stakeholders are invited to submit answers responding directly to the questions listed below, or provide reports they think are relevant.

Violence is not just about harming someone. For the purposes of this report, violence is understood to be the result of one party forcing another party into an unequal relationship based on domination, humiliation, or exploitation. Good relations between individuals, communities, and peoples are based on care, respect, or reciprocity. In particular, the Special Rapporteur is exploring the following manifestations of violence:

Erasure: This arises from laws, policies, beliefs, and processes that assume certain individuals, communities, or peoples do not exist or should not exist. These laws, policies, beliefs and processes are often dedicated to a type of environmental value or a vision of food system transformation that simultaneously ignores and threatens individuals, communities, or peoples.

Discrimination: Violence often arises based on assumptions regarding ability, class, legal status, age, gender, race, caste, religion, ethnicity and other discriminatory categories. This constitutes a type of violence that is the result of harm being directed at an individual or community because of who they are or because of the intersection of a number of their identities. This form of violence often stems from a constructed, abstract notion of what is normal and targets whomever does not fit that particular definition of normal. It also often stems from an assumption that certain people are less worthy because of particular traits.

Bodily harm or assault against a person’s physical and mental integrity: Gender based violence, armed conflict, and unilateral coercive measures all cause bodily and mental harm in general but also limit an individual’s ability to access food. Violence causing bodily harm not only includes direct harm but denial of access to food by destroying infrastructure or crippling an economic system. But bodily harm does not just hurt or kill. The constant threat of bodily harm creates systemic violence that denigrates individuals, communities, and peoples.

Ecological violence: This form of violence disrupts individuals’, communities’, and peoples’ relationship with land, water and other natural resources, which are essential for providing food. It arises from the context of competition or management of land and environment.  It can take different forms such as land grabbing, evictions, contamination of soil and water, deforestation, etc.

Key questions and types of input/comments sought

Based on the forms of violence described above,

  • Please describe the nature and degree of violence prevalent in different parts of a food system in your country or community based;
  • Please also provide examples of laws, policies, or campaigns that have successfully prevented or reduced violence in a food system, held perpetrators accountable, or provided reparation.
  • Please indicate and describe what population groups and peoples are targets of this violence?
  • How have authorities and people created spaces of sanctuary or protection from violence within food systems?

The above-mentioned manifestations of violence are meant as a guide and are not rigid; because individual’s identities are diverse and dynamic, the different forms of violence overlap and intersect. You are therefore encouraged to identify other types of violence which may affect your country’s food systems.

Because your inputs will be considered for a thematic report, please also provide studies of systemic violence or cases that highlight examples of different forms of specific or systemic violence in food systems. Pre-published reports are also welcome. You are encouraged to focus on how the following people experience violence in food systems: children, older adults, people with disabilities, women and girls especially rural and Indigenous women and girls, peasants, pastoralists, fishers, Indigenous peoples and workers.

How inputs will be used

Kindly note that unless expressively specified, inputs will be published on the Special Rapporteur’s webpage.

Inputs Received