Food is a Human Right, Hunger is a Human problem says Vatican
The Archbishop leading the Holy See’s delegation to the United Nations has praised international efforts to combat hunger, malnutrition and poverty, but said that more must be done to secure the human right to food. “While improvements in food production remain an important goal, food security will be achieved by all only when we change social structures and when we learn to show greater solidarity towards the poor and the hungry,” Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt, the Apostolic Nuncio leading the Vatican’s Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations said Tuesday.
“Hunger is not just a technical problem awaiting technological solutions. It is a human problem that demands solutions based on our common humanity” he added. The Archbishop addressed the second committee of the 68th session of the General Assembly of United Nations on agriculture development, food security and nutrition.
Archbishop Chullikatt said that hunger is not caused by the lack of sufficient food, noting that an estimated 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted each year. He cited Pope Francis’ words that it is “truly scandalous” for millions to be suffering and dying of starvation. He told the U.N. committee that wasting food is sometimes tolerated because it can be more financially profitable than providing it to those in extreme need.
Hunger is caused by “exclusion,” he said. Agriculture policies must promote inclusion and “respect for the dignity and rights of those still on the margins of today’s society,” as well as respect for the well-being of future generations. He also warned that food access can become a “weapon” for controlling or subjugating populations, instead of “a tool for building peaceful and prosperous communities.”
The archbishop invoked “subsidiarity,” the principle of Catholic social teaching that human activities be carried out at “the most local and immediate level possible.” This principle encourages helping people become self-sufficient in food or helping them earn a livelihood whose products they can exchange for food. Food security should be a singular goal, the archbishop said, “so that there will be ever fewer people suffering from poverty and hunger in our world.”
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