Handover of signatures in the European Parliament
Brussels, December 10th 2009 -On the occasion of Human Rights Day, representatives of European sections of the international human rights organization for the right to food FIAN (FoodFirst Information and Action Network) and their partner Gaia Foundation met with Isabelle Durant (Group of the Greens), vice-president of the European Parliament, to hand over the signatures collected during the two-year Face It Act Now Campaign.
European citizens, through 3235 signatures and 1022 portraits uploaded to the website campaign, expressed their support to the demands of FIAN, especially to set the right to food as a priority for agriculture, development cooperation and consumers protection policies in Europe, to realize a strong individual complaint procedure to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and to protect human rights defenders worldwide. As representative of European Parliament, Isabelle Durant recognized the engagment of those who signed the campaign demands and uploaded their faces: "All these people show their committment with the struggle against hunger".
Over the last two years, the Face It Act Now Campaign has had positive impact on the realization of the right to food, especially in cases of human rights violations followed up by FIAN. As an example, progress was seen in the case of an indigenous (Yanadi) community in the State of Andhra Pradesh in India that has been negatively affected by the construction of a commercial port in the region. As a direct response to an international letter campaign launched by FIAN in June 2009, a local authority responsible for indigenous peoples' affairs promised that the families would get immediate food assistance. The authority also put forward a recommendation to the state government to include 300 families in the State rehabilitation scheme for affected people by the port.
The Face It Act Now campaign and related lobby activities also contributed to the adoption on December, 10th, 2008 of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which establish a complaint procedure for violations of economic, social and cultural rights at the international level.
During the campaign, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on May 22nd, 2008 on rising food prices that "stresses the fundamental nature of the right to food" as the principal perspective towards the world food crisis.
Along a one-hour discussion, Isabelle Durant expressed her support to the follow-up proposals, which were presented by Martin Wolpold-Bosien, coordinator of the Face It Act Now Campaign. "The human right to food is a first priority in the fight against hunger, and be sure that you have my support also in future" concluded Isabelle Durant.
The Campaign has made a significant contribution to the struggle of people for the promotion and protection of the Human Right to Food. As for Isabelle Durant, supporting voices among European decision makers and in the general public in their actions against hunger have increased.
Thanks to the efforts of civil society but also of citizens like you that support the Face It Act Now Campaign, we can now tackle future challenges for a better compliance of the right to food with hope. There is no doubt that the struggle for the realization of the right to food has to go on and be strengthened, since in 2009 for the first time in history, the estimated number of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition surpassed one billion.