North Korea and the Right to Food

Testimony before the United Nations' Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Public Hearings

October 30, 2013

The right to food is recognized in article 25 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). It has undergone a steady elaboration, most notably in the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights General Comment 12 of 1999 and subsequent documents.

The simplest definition, contained in paragraph 6 of General Comment 12, is that "the right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman and child, alone and in community with others, has physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement."

This document goes on to elaborate a number of state obligations including: