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Zambia: UN expert to assess situation of the right to adequate food

GENEVA / LUSAKA (27 April 2017) – The situation of the right to food in Zambia will be investigated by United Nations Special Rapporteur Hilal Elver, during an official visit from 3 to 12 May 2017. 

“I will pay special attention to the situation of peasants and smallholders, including women, and the efforts made to improve their livelihoods,” Ms. Elver said, launching the first visit to the country by an independent expert on the right to food mandated by the Human Rights Council.

Around 60% of the Zambian population lives in poverty, mostly subsistence farmers in rural areas. There is a strong concern about the levels of malnutrition in this context, leaving around 40 percent of children under the age of five at below average height.

“I will also assess the impact of economic policies including large-scale investments in land for commercial agriculture, on the right to food ” said Ms.Elver and in this sense I am interested in the current revision of Zambia’s Lands Act policy, which aims to protect the country’s land against indiscriminate sales.

The Special Rapporteur will seek to provide practical policy recommendations to further the realization of the right to food. She will discuss with the Government, options to secure greater inclusion for vulnerable people and the protection of Zambia’s valuable resources for the future.

During the visit, the expert will meet senior Government officials, representatives from the UN, civil society and local communities in various locations throughout the country, including in the Central Province. She will also visit the Mayukwayukwa-refugee camp in Kaoma, Western Province.

Ms. Elver will hold a press conference to share her preliminary findings at 11:30 p.m. on Friday 12 May at United Nations House, Alick Nkhata Road, Zambia. Access to the press conference will be strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur’s observations and recommendations will be reflected in her final report, which will be presented to a forthcoming meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in March 2018.

Ms. Hilal Elver (Turkey) was appointed Special Rapporteur on the right to food by the  Human Rights Council in 2014. She is a Research Professor, co-director of the Project on Global Climate Change, Human Security and Democracy housed at the Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies, and global distinguished fellow at the University of California Los Angeles Law School (UCLA) Resnick Food Law and Policy Center.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page: Zambia

For more information and press inquiries, please contact:

In Lusaka (during the visit): Lavender Degre  ( +260211386231 / +260 0966797779 /  lavender.degre@undp.org) or Viktoria Aberg (+4179109 6873/ vaberg@ohchr.org)

In Geneva (before and after the visit): Frederike Jansonuis (+41 22 917 9339 / fjansonius@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

You can access this media advisory online

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