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international law

ABA Resolution on the Right to Food

The American Bar Association, a national association of lawyers with approximately 400,000 members, recently adopted a resolution on the right to food. Such a resolution is arguably significant: the ABA is not a human rights organization, but an association representing mainstream American lawyers — not a community that has always fully …

Bartering Away Rights?

Whether trade liberalization in general helps or hurts human rights, particularly the rights of the most vulnerable, is a complex question to answer in the abstract. Yet, before a trade agreement is concluded, it is imperative to examine how the agreement might affect human rights, and consequently which safeguards could …

The United States and the Right to Food

For many years, the United States was conspicuously isolated on the world stage when it came to its stance on the right to food. Despite near-universal agreement that the right to food was a human right, the United States refused to join even non-binding resolutions on the subject. Some of …

A Good Day for Rights: The OP-ICESCR Enters into Force

Today is an exciting day for the human rights world, marking the entry into force of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (OP-ICESCR). This is an important step towards creating greater accountability for economic, social and cultural rights – including the right to …

How to Analyze Violations of the Right to Food

Global hunger and food insecurity are complicated, messy issues. And although the right to food is a human right grounded in international law, lawyers and activists struggle when trying to document violations of that right. Too many reports lack nuance or a human rights framework, arguing simplistically that people in …

On Enforcement

Labor laws are only as good as their monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. I was reminded of this the other day when reading an article in the South African Sunday Times, which stated that the grocery chain Woolworths was investigating claims of abuse and unfair labor practices on one of its …

Righting Food Means Righting Water

Last week, I briefly sketched the origins of the right to water in international law. But what does the right to water encompass? And what is its relationship to the right to food? The Right to Water: Freedoms and Entitlements The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (“the Committee”) …

Food and the Human Right to Water

Land is essential for food production, but it’s virtually worthless without water. This need for water helps to explain the recent global rush to acquire land:  as the non-profit GRAIN has pointed out, “behind every land grab is a water grab.”  And water grabs are serious. Already, one-third of the …