The Human Right to Food in Malawi: Report of an International Fact-Finding Mission page – 8

The Human Right to Food in Malawi: Report of an International Fact-Finding Mission


The pre-condition for the implementation [of the FAO Guidelines] is the cooperation

between the International Organizations, the Government Organizations

and the Non-governmental Organizations.

Hartwig de Haen, Assistant Director-General, FAO25


Recommendations to Government

Adopt a human rights framework for the eradication of hunger


• Create a national right to food strategy, using the FAO Guidelines as a

roadmap, encompassing all levels of State obligations and integrating

approaches across government departments and agencies;

• Adopt the Human Right to Food Bill as proposed by the National Right

to Food Taskforce;


• Encourage the indivisibility of rights by conceptualizing the human

right to food in its relation to other rights such as the right to health,

the right to education, the right to life, labour rights etc.;

• Develop human rights curriculum for schools.


Create effective recourse mechanisms for human rights violations and

bring perpetrators to justice


• Create a “right to food authority” as recommended in the Right to Food



• Increase resources to the Malawi Human Rights Commission, specifically

for the creation of community complaint centres;

25 As quoted in FIAN International document g 47 e / 2006.

54 The Human Right to Food in Malawi


• Provide training for judges and lawyers in the application of economic,

social and cultural rights;


• Strengthen the system of legal aid in Malawi to ensure wider access for

the poor;


• Ensure that cases related to violations of the right to food and currently

lingering in the court system are heard within a reasonable amount of

time and that the guilty are quickly brought to justice.


Improve democratic governance with a particular focus on meeting

human rights treaty obligations


• Create an inter-departmental process specifically mandated to harmonize

and coordinate government policies and programs to end hunger,

including health, nutrition, agriculture and land policy, private sector

development, safety nets, food aid;


• Respect human rights obligations when determining budget priorities,

including the maximum resources possible for sustainable solutions

to hunger such as agricultural extension, production support, water

management and credit programs;


• Submit a periodic report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and

Cultural Rights.


Enforce policies designed to create transparency and accountability

especially with regards to pricing of inputs, food security crops and cash



• Increase programs that publicize commodity prices, such as radio

announcements and weekly postings by VDCs and NGOs;


• Investigate allegations of price fixing by the tobacco industry and apply

appropriate remedies;


• Investigate price gouging by traders and prosecute offenders;


• Enforce the minimum wage for farm labourers.


Encourage crop diversification through increased support to agricultural



• Provide sufficient resources to allow the re-building of Malawi’s agricultural

extension services;


• Encourage crop diversification with a view to achieving food and nutrition

security, emphasizing food crops that require less water and fewer



• Give attention to the added value of organic agriculture as an approach

that emphasizes indigenous knowledge and sustainable practices.


Recommendations to donors

Reinforce and encourage the efforts of the Government of Malawi to

meet its human rights obligations


• Refrain from imposition of de-regulation and privatization as a condition

of development assistance, especially when those conditions

constrain the Government of Malawi from meeting its human rights



• Support budget allocations designed to end hunger and strengthen

self-sufficiency through agricultural development, expansion of extension

services, and provision of subsidies to smallholder farmers and the

introduction of a basic income grant or cash transfer program;


• Provide additional resources to the Malawi Human Rights Commission.


Support legislation and programs that will assist the people of Malawi to

better claim their human rights


• Encourage adoption of the Right to Food Bill;


• Support training programs in human rights monitoring and the compilation

of relevant statistics;


• Support legal training in the application of economic, social and cultural

rights obligations of the State;


• Encourage expansion of a comprehensive legal aid system.


Strengthen efforts to avoid conflicting policies and encourage common

approaches for food security and sustainable livelihoods


• Establish an agriculture SWAP as currently exists in the areas of health,

education and HIV/AIDS;

Recommendationse 55

56 The Human Right to Food in Malawi


• Refrain from encouraging economic measures not required of leastdeveloped

countries in World Trade Organization rules, for example the

reduction of tariffs, cuts to domestic support, limits to grain reserves

and pressure against collective marketing mechanisms.


Recommendations to civil society

Strengthen the legislative campaign to adopt the Right to Food Bill in



• Link the campaign to the constitutional review;


• More clearly align the proposed Right to Food Bill to the Food & Nutrition

Security Policy;


• Prioritize the political rather than bureaucratic level in lobbying



• Develop a strategic alliance with the OPC to avoid conflict with its

HIV/AIDS and Nutrition Policy and to build upon the President’s recent

public focus on food security;


• Establish closer collaboration with the Malawi Human Rights Commission.


Build civil society capacity in the area of human rights


• Expand and consolidate the National Right to Food Taskforce;


• Organize a series of workshops and training seminars on specific human

rights issues such as human rights targeting, impact assessments, and

judiciability and extra-territorial obligations;


• Use clear human rights language for advocacy, relying on the FAO

Guidelines, the General Comment 12 and the Constitution of Malawi;


• Consolidate linkages with international civil society and social movements

working on the human right to food in the region.


Develop a grassroots awareness & mobilization initiative

• Use existing networks and ongoing surveys to introduce the National

Taskforce on the Right to Food at the grassroots level;


• Develop popular education materials in Chichewa to encourage human

rights awareness at the grassroots level;


• Make more use of radio for outreach activities.