A Narrowly Focused Thought

Focused thoughtFood for a narrowly focused thought
Human Rights Reader 418
By Claudio Schuftan

IN A WORLD DOMINATED BY MARKETS, WHERE RESOURCES FLOW TOWARD POWER INSTEAD OF NEED, WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF WE REALLY CARED MORE ABOUT HUNGER AND MALNUTRITION FROM A RIGHT TO NUTRITION PERSPECTIVE? (Brooke Aksnes)

The current malnutrition problem around the world is not its double burden, but its multiple burdens.

By narrowly focusing on the greater appeal of reducing hunger what do we risk?

For the hungry, there is no such thing as just a hard and dry loaf of bread. (Maria Duenias)

By narrowly focusing on hunger, we risk solely or chiefly focusing on increasing dietary energy supply/consumption. But, beware, this will not adequately address the more complex challenges that fulfilling the right to nutrition brings about. To live up to these challenges cannot be made to mean following a number of silver-bullet interventions to achieve them. Why? Because any list of selected interventions risks being reduced to a simplistic shopping list from which one can choose according to ad-hoc preferences. So, how can it be assured that the human rights (HR) principles and standards are woven into the right to nutrition? For this, we need to start a true transformative process in order to de-block some of the block-ins that obstruct change in our system and that have been allowed to grow over the past 50 years.(i) Take the high level UN panels set up to deal with the topic: they have separated the political issues from the technical ones in an effort to build a purported ‘common and shared understanding’ –but where is this leading us to?.(ii) (Biraj Partnaik)

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Misunderstanding Poverty

Misunderstanding PovertyPOVERTY REDUCTION AS A GOAL SOUNDS LOVELY, BUT THIS FAIRY TALE VISION OF DEVELOPMENT AND OF HUMAN RIGHTS BETRAYS A SERIOUS MISUNDERSTANDING OF POVERTY.” (Jason Hickel)

Food for a misunderstood thought
Human Rights Reader 417

-An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics. (Plutarch, ancient Greek biographer, 46–120 CE)
-Be reminded that poverty, as such, is now classified as a human rights violation. (Francine Mestrum, CETIM)
Poverty is part of the system, not an event! (Seth Godin)
-What if the problem of poverty is that it is profitable to other people…? (Matthew Desmond)

When people rendered poor know their rights and can act on this knowledge, long-term change becomes more likely (A. Campolina)

There are people so poor that they only have money… (Albino Gomez)

  1. Poverty does not just exist out there, as if it were a natural phenomenon; rather, it is actively produced through the processes of marginalization, dispossession, and exploitation that allow for the accumulation of wealth elsewhere. In other words, there is an intimate relationship between wealth and impoverishment: As is, the flipside of development is the deprivation suffered by a sizeable chunk of the marginalized majority. Development models that fail to challenge the structure of wealth accumulation will only continue to reproduce the problem they seek to address.2. The ‘one percenters’ are going to have to feel the pinch –there is no way around it. The approach to reducing poverty and hunger as key human rights (HR) violations requires much more than just a bit of foreign aid here and there. It will require challenging particular political and economic interests. Indeed, this seems to be precisely why the world’s governments and international institutions are so eager to promote the ‘good-news’ of poverty-already-having-been-reduced. If they were to use more accurate measures of poverty and hunger, it would become clear that, to really eradicate these problems, we need to change the rules of the global economy, to make it fairer for the world’s majority. (J. Hickel)

    3. So, let us be clear: As much as those who have been rendered poor are made invisible –they are not forgotten or left aside; they are just not seen. (Michel Harrington) This is why the SDGs’ ‘Leave No One Behind’ motto is one more empty slogan. Hiding poverty leads to perpetuating it. A dignified life comes from having work. Therefore, to stop investing in people in the name of greater profits elsewhere is a disaster for society.(i) (Albino Gomez)

(i): Keep in mind: Like many other civilizations before, ours surely has a date in which it will collapse. (Arturo Perez Revert) The question is how distant that date is. So, “If you happen to see the future, tell him not to come”. (Juan Lose Castelli)

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