International fact-finding mission on the right to food in Nepal

April 8 to 20, 2007

MONTREAL – April 4, 2007 – An international fact-finding mission organized by Rights & Democracy arrives in Nepal next week. The mission will assess persistent hunger in Nepal, identify its causes and propose solutions based on state obligations to respect, protect and fulfil the human right to food.  A special emphasis will be put on the human rights of indigenous people, women and Dalits.

Arriving in Kathmandu on April 8, the 13-day mission will undertake visits to affected communities and conduct interviews with government representatives, as well as with UN and donor agencies, social movements and civil society organizations.  Nepalese experts on food security will join representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Human Rights Council’s Research Unit on the Right to Food, Rights & Democracy, FIAN International, International Indian Treaty Council and Action-Aid Malawi to form three teams for site visits in different parts of the country.

Nepal is classified as a least-developed country (LDC), ranking 138 out of 177 countries in the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Report 2006. Poverty in Nepal is mostly a rural phenomenon, with 86% of the poor living in rural areas. Studies on food security have shown that about 50% of the people involved in farming, agricultural labour, share-cropping, portering non-tourist items and providing traditional rural services are hungry.

Preliminary findings will be released during a press conference in Kathmandu on April 19th. A mission report will be submitted later in the year.