The Right to Food and Its Justiciability in Developing Countries

  • Husen Ahmed Tura
Keywords: Freedom from hunger, Food security law, Justiciability of the right to food, Right to food


This Article examines legal and jurisprudential developments on the right to food with a view to drawing lessons that could be important for food-insecure countries that strive to improve their legal and institutional frameworks to combat hunger and malnutrition. To this end, it reviews relevant laws and cases relating to the right to food and its justiciability. The right to food was first recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and reaffirmed in subsequent UN and regional human rights instruments. An increasing number of countries have introduced concrete legislative and judicial measures to realize the right to food after the General Comment No. 12 and the Right to Food Voluntary Guidelines were adopted in 1999 and 2004 respectively. Nowadays, at least 30 constitutions explicitly recognize the right to food as a justiciable human right. 74 constitutions contain provisions that implicitly protect the right to food. Moreover, 167 States have adopted the ICESCR that expressly recognizes the right to food. Besides, many countries have adopted framework laws on the right to food or food security. Several cases relating to the right to food have also been litigated and victims of violations of the right have received judicial remedies in several developing countries. It is learned that existence of strong legal framework at domestic level, availability of liberal standing procedures that allow filing of collective and public interest litigations, and an active participation of NGOs have contributed to the success of the justiciability of the right to food at domestic levels.