It would be hard to deny that there are serious problems with food shortages and, indeed, famine in many parts of the world, though, as ever this is caused by political decisions. When one bears that in mind it will not be so surprising that one of the places with growing difficulties is Syria, a highly productive country.
According to the World Food Program, half a million people don’t have enough to eat in Syria. Fears are growing that the regime is using hunger as a weapon.Quite so. Shouldn't the UN Human Rights Council' so-called hunger monitor be interested and perturbed?
This is the kind of emergency which should attract the attention of the UN Human Rights Council’s hunger monitor, who has the ability to spotlight situations and place them on the world agenda. Yet Olivier de Schutter of Belgium, the “Special Rapporteur on the right to food,” is not going to Syria.
Instead, the UN’s food monitor is coming to investigate Canada.
That’s right. Despite dire food emergencies around the globe, De Schutter will be devoting the scarce time and resources of the international community on an 11-day tour of Canada—a country that ranks at the bottom of global hunger concerns.
A key co-ordinator and promoter of De Schutter’s mission is Food Secure Canada, a lobby group whose website accuses the Harper government of “failing Canadians…and [failing to] fulfill the right to food for all.” The group calls instead for a “People’s Food Policy.”
I asked De Schutter if his time wouldn’t better be spent on calling attention to countries that actually have starving people.
“Globally, 1.3 billion people are overweight or obese,” he responded via his spokesperson, “and this causes a range of diseases such as certain types of cancers, cardio-vascular diseases or (especially) type-2 diabetes that are a huge burden.”Does this mean the Special Rapporteur on the right to food is actually more interested in people having too much food than with them having too little or not at all?
Possibly this curious anomaly has something to do with the history of the specific mandate.
First, consider the origins of the UN’s “right to food” mandate. In voluminous background information provided by De Schutter and his local promoters, there’s no mention that their sponsor was Cuba, a country where some women resort to prostitution for food. De Schutter does not want you to know that Havana’s Communist government created his post, nor that the co-sponsors included China, North Korea, Iran and Zimbabwe.
These and other repressive regimes are seeking a political weapon to attack the West. That is why the first person they chose to fill the post, when it started in 2000, was Jean Ziegler. The former Swiss Socialist politician was a man they could trust: In 1989, he announced to the world the creation of the Muammar Gaddafi Human Rights Prize.
The award spread propaganda for its namesake, and elevated his ideological allies. Recipients include Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. In 2002, the prize went to convicted French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy — and to Jean Ziegler himself.
From 2000 to 2008, Ziegler’s UN reports and probes turned a blind eye to the world’s hungry. Instead he attacked America, the West, capitalism and Israel. The human rights council applauded him, and repeatedly renewed his mandate. Only because of term limits did they replace him in 2008 with De Schutter, who praises and emulates his predecessor.Normal behaviour on the part of UN organizations and, in particular, on the part of the UN Human Rights Council.