Food is the basic necessity for all human beings, so everyone should have a right to it. The right to food protects the right of all human beings to live in dignity, free from hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. It is not about charity, but about ensuring that all are capable of feeding themselves.
The Right to Adequate Food is a fundamental human right firmly established in international law. This right flows from the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) of 1966. The Right to Adequate Food has been reaffirmed in many pronouncements of the international community over the last 50 years. Noteworthy is also the recognition of the right to food in numerous national constitutions.
The human right to food has its contemporary origin within the U.N. Universal Human Rights framework. The main reference point is located within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (U.N. 1948), Article 25, which states, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food.”
It provided a reference point for human rights legislation that followed but is not itself a binding international legal instrument. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Committee on ESCR) in its General Comment 12 says
The right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman and child, alone and in community with others, has physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement (General Comment 12, 1999, para 6).