We cannot remain silent

“A child under the age of ten dies every seven seconds. Each death is a murder,” says Jean Ziegler, former Swiss politician and diplomat who is an expert in social subjects.
Ziegler described a terrifying panorama by assuring that the planet could sufficiently feed –that is, with a minimum of 2,700 calories per person per day– about 12 billion people, against the 6.2 billion that live up to day.
Paradoxically, rural developments, which should produce food, are the ones that are the most affected by problems of malnutrition, especially in developing countries. Agricultural production grows, but bread does not reach everyone’s mouth. Two-thirds of those who suffer malnutrition problems are women and, according to Ziegler, this results from a “discrimination” related to the lack of access to property, to legal limitations for them or to social attitudes.
Ziegler also considered that multinational companies should have a greater “responsibility” in fighting malnutrition.
“It’s time to confront multinationals with the compromise to respect human rights,” the special UN spokesperson, expert in themes of nutrition, said. He highlighted that only 25 countries have ratified an international agreement about a conduct code of enterprises dedicated to agricultural-alimentary practices, in favour of basic measures such as the promotion of maternal lactation. Let’s remember that, according to the definition of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLA), “to be poor is to barely have the necessary minimum to cover basic needs.”.
It is not acceptable that, in a world where 1.2 billion people live under the threshold of poverty, thousands of tons of food are destroyed on a daily basis to maintain artificial prices in the markets, even with the official doctrine claiming that the markets regulate themselves.

José Carlos Gª Fajardo
Translated by Carlos Miguélez

This article was published in the Center of Collaborations for Solidarity (CCS) on 07/12/2004