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NGOs call on Swiss to defend the right to food

Eighteen non-governmental organisations have called on Switzerland to give priority to the right to food over the production of biofuels.

This content was published on March 3, 2008 - 12:09

The NGOs want the Swiss delegation at the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), which opened a session in Geneva on Monday, to adopt a clear position on the issue.

They argue Switzerland should express its concern at the negative consequences of the industrial production of biofuels and push for a resolution saying that "biofuels must not violate the right to food".

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Switzerland's Jean Ziegler, has already demanded an international five-year ban on producing biofuels to combat soaring food prices.

Ziegler, who will present a report to the HRC, has warned that turning arable land over to green fuel had led to an explosion of agricultural prices that was punishing poor countries, who are being forced to import food at a greater cost.

At the opening of the session, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on countries to respect all human rights throughout the world.

"The question for the Council to ask is if it can fully satisfy the high expectations that the international community has in it," he said.

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