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HungerFREE Campaign Seeks to Pressure Governments to meet Hunger and Poverty Goals

The groups ActionAid and Swiss Aid have announced a new five-year campaign to fight poverty, hunger and injustice. The campaign, called HungerFree, calls on donor nations to deliver on their promises. It also proposes legally enforceable standards to end hunger-related deaths.

Ramesh Singh is the chief executive for ActionAid. From Geneva, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the HungerFREE campaign.

“HungerFREE campaign is about ensuring that everyone, particularly poor and excluded people, have the right to be free from hunger and have rights to food. But that does require making sure that the right to food is understood and recognized in the laws and the constitutions as the basic right of every human being. And when this right is violated we can take governments and institutions to account for it,” he says.

The campaign also calls for ensuring that women, who are responsible for most of the agriculture in Africa, have the right to own land. It also says large transnational corporations must be held accountable for their actions. “Nearly 90 percent of the grain trade in the world is done by five big transnational corporations,” he says.

As for the proposed legally enforceable standards to end hunger-related deaths, Singh says, “At the international level we need to strengthen the mechanism through the (UN) Human Rights Council and the UN system. At the same time, in every country, we should be able to get the constitution to recognize the right to food is a fundamental and basic right. And there should be laws that can allow the violation of rights to be reported.”

He says governments should be required to produce reports saying hunger is being eradicated. “Hunger has not been reduced…. We have a total of 854 million people who are suffering from hunger now. And this is 54 million people more than it was when our leaders signed up to reducing the number of hungry people 11 years ago at the (World) Food Summit (in Rome) and after they have signed on to the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals).”