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International Day of Families: The Right To Food

Updated: May 18, 2021

May 15th marks observance the UN International Day of Families, providing the opportunity to reflect on social issues relating to families and increase the knowledge of intersecting social, economic, and demographic issues affecting families across the world. Under the adopted UN sustainable development goals for member states, a key priority outlined was the elimination of poverty. The UN maintains that the inclusion of families and family policies around these ambitious goals are the most meaningful vehicles for governments to influence living standards for future generations.

Here in the U.K. it is reported that 8.4 million people are living in food poverty, with disabled, older and people of colour worst affected.[1] The number of families struggling to afford food is likely higher that foodbank figures would suggest, with the reported shame and stigma attached to poverty being enough to stop them seeking help. The Social Rights Alliance Manchester spoke to Gerry Flanagan, a community organizer in Wythenshawe, who works alongside foodbanks in the community as well as providing insight to the city-wide poverty action group, listen to his reflections and experiences here.

Heads of a protest crowd, one cardboard placard reads "Fight today for a better tomorrow"

The right to food is one of our most basic human rights, which everyone in the U.K. is entitled to exercise. The right to food is set out in the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – ratified by U.K. government in 1976, meaning that the U.K. government is obliged to respect, protect and fulfil the right to food. With families across the U.K. going hungry, with the context of severe cuts to social welfare, it is important now more than ever that we talk about food poverty through the framework of Human Rights.

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