The Rights to Food, Health
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The enjoyment of the Rights to Food and Health is constantly at risk in many countries. The main reasons for this scandalous state of affairs are economic policy failures of a few key states that impact extraterritorially on closely related human rights such as the right to land and other productive resources to feed oneself sustainably in community with others, the right to earn one’s living in a way that guarantees access to adequate food and decent living and the right to social security including an income guarantee sufficient to access adequate food.
The right to food related cases involve to a large extent State’s support for agribusiness in areas such as land grabbing, capturing of input and output markets, genetically modified organisms (GMO), Baby Food production. Moreover, food speculation by the banking sector impedes the enjoyment of ESCRs. In the area of the right to health, examples include lacking access to essential medicines due to policies promoting oligopolistic tendencies of extraterritorial pharmaceutical industries, and the tilting of health policies to vested interests and profit-oriented set-ups threatening considerable parts of the population with exclusion.
The Maastricht Principles on ETOs lay down the States obligations to respect, protect and fulfill ESCRs extraterritorially. States are obliged to refrain from any action that would impair or nullify the enjoyment of ESCRs of those also living extraterritorially (Principle 19- 22). Furthermore, States have the obligation to protect individuals ESCRs by regulating non-state actors (Principles 23-27). States are obliged to regulate and/or influence the business sector in order to protect those affected by them outside their territory. Transnational companies involved in land grabbing, GMO, agrofuels and many more need to be regulated according to these principles. The obligation to fulfill requests States to create, through international cooperation, an enabling environment conductive to the universal fulfillment of the human rights to food and health and related ESCRs (Principles 28-35). There is a need for States to collaborate through finance, investment, trade and ecological agrarian reforms in order to contribute to the creation of an enabling environment.