Published: 04/03/2021

In his first report to the UN Human Rights Council, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Michael Fakhri has called for action by governments and employers to ensure the safety of food workers and the fulfillment of the right to food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Fakhri calls on employers to provide “workers in all parts of the food system with safe working conditions, such as personal protective equipment, distancing measures, clear health and safety guidelines, paid sick leave, adequate sleeping, eating and sanitary facilities and a quarantine shelter.”

  • The report focuses on four thematic areas: COVID-19 and the hunger crisis; food systems and governance; the right to seeds and the right to food in armed conflict and protracted crises
  • It highlights the contribution of food workers to ensuring food supply during the COVID-19 pandemic while also pointing out that even though they were classed as essential all over the world they were being treated “as if they were expendable”
  • It stresses that “safe working conditions also include respecting the right of all workers to organize and to make all the arrangements necessary to care for their families during the crisis”
  • It calls on Committee on World Food Security and the ILO to form an alliance to tackle the looming hunger crisis

View Mr. Fakhri’ speech introducing the report to the Human Rights Council:

Food workers are part of the care economy and their work is essential for humanity’s well-being. When food workers get sick, the world goes hungry.
Michael Fakhri, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food