4:32 pm - Saturday September 25, 1109

People in Bangladesh have no legal right to food

Economists, lawyers and farmers on Monday said that people in Bangladesh have no legal entitlement to food as food is not recognised as a right but it is recognized as one of the basic necessities in the country’s constitution.

They urged the government to take steps to ensure right to food through enactment of relevant laws.

They made their remarks while speaking at a public hearing on right to food at CIRDAP auditorium. Bangladesh Human Rights Commission and Oxfam jointly organised the event.

Food rightBHRC chairman Minazur Rahman said it was the responsibility of the state to ensure right to food for all citizens, providing them safe and nutritional food as per their demand, New Age reports.

Although food production increased, a large number of people still remain hungry, he said, adding that it was necessary to ensure ‘balanced distribution of food.’

‘There is no alternative to ensuring the right to food in Bangladesh,’ he said.

Speaking on the occasion, PKSF chairman Qauzi Kholiquzzaman said right to food is a fundamental right of the people, but it was not recognised constitutionally.

He urged the government to ensure the right to food in the constitution through enactment of law.

Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies senior fellow Protima Paul Majumder said that total economic productivity will be hampered if the government fails to ensure people’ right to food.

Although women were historically involved with food production, they were deprived of their due recognition, she said.

Supreme Court advocate Sara Hossain said as the government was going to produce genetically modified crops including bt brinjal, they must consider health hazards caused by such crops.

According to national food policy monitoring report 2014, a large number of food and non-food based safety net programmes are run by the government to alleviate poverty and food insecurity, but those do not reflect any legal entitlement of people to get food.

It is now expedient to clearly define the provisions of right to food and assign responsibilities to different statutory organs of the government for their implementation under a legal framework, said the report.