Different Chapters and Coordination of FIAN India are active in various
fields to defend and promote the human right to feed oneself in the
country. The activities and expertise of different FIAN units in India
cover a wide range of thematic areas which are crucial to mainstream right
to food in the nation. These activities provide us with information
related to status of right to food in the country and incidents of
violations of right to food, thereby helping us to develop strategies for
interventions, research, policy advocacy and lobby works as well as
documentations and publications. Currently, the units of FIAN India are
dealing with the following themes:
The agrarian economy of India is the major source of livelihood for
millions of rural poor in the country. The agrarian structure in India is
characterized by unequal distribution of productive resources, including
land. The concentration of land rests on a few landholders who are
economically powerful compared to the poor and marginal peasants. These
productive lands have not been fully utilized and recent studies have
shown that the productivity of land decreases when the land goes bottom -
up from the hands of the poor to the rich. The implementation of genuine
agrarian reform is a precondition to ensure food security for the marginal
peasants and landless laborers in India.
FIAN chapters in India have identified the need to promote policies and
programmes for genuine agrarian reform in the country. To this end
initiatives have been taken to make different stakeholders of the civil
society aware of the importance of agrarian reform measures. Sensitisation
of state representatives, legislatures and judiciary for formulation of
pro-poor agrarian reform policies and for effective implementation of the
same are done. At the same time campaigns and media advocacy are important
activities of different FIAN chapters in the country to bring the issue of
agrarian reform back in agenda, particularly when an alarming tendency of
reverse reform in the agrarian sector is being planned by different
federal states in India to allow the indiscriminate expansion of TNCs in
agribusiness in the country. FIAN India is also a part of the Global
Campaign for agrarian reform as launched by FIAN International and La Via
Campesina, where the main objective is to support the landless peasants'
struggle for land to feed themselves in various part of the world.
To FIAN Agrarian Reform is a human rights obligation of the state. It
provides people with access to productive resources, allowing them to have
adequate access to food in dignity. Agrarian reform is a central element
of every strategy to fight back poverty. Therefore Agrarian Reform will
remain a central thematic area for FIAN India to facilitate realization of
right to food and feed oneself in the country.
Guidelines on the Right to Food (VGRF)
FIAN has for years been lobbying intensively for the FAO to take up a
rights based approach and to adopt a new international legal instrument
fostering the implementation of the right to food. As a result, the World
Food Summit : five years later took the decision to formulate a sat of
voluntary guidelines that would serve as a human Right based framework for
the specific programmes of the FAO aimed at reducing hunger and
malnutrition. The voluntary guidelines on Right to Food (VGRF) is an
important new instrument to combat hunger because it challenges one of the
main causes of hunger, the lack of political will of states to take
concrete measures for progressive realisation of right to food. A Civil
society coalition driven by FIAN was instrumental in pressuring for the
opening up of negotiations on the guidelines within the FAO structure.
FIAN India will strive for creating awareness on VGRF, through its usual
sensitization programmes, lobbying and media advocacy. The other set of
functions will include seminars and workshops with different stakeholders
like legislatures, politicians, policy makers, NGOs, CSOs and judiciary
for dissemination of information related to relevance of VGRF in India.
Different chapters of FIAN India would publish documents and info sheets
on VGRF in regional languages for effective awareness of the common masses
and victims of violations.
Country Report on Right to
The vision on the Country Report on Right to Food in India - an initiative
of FIAN is a step towards increasing the accountability of the state for
full realization of Human Right to Food and has been a prerogative of
FIAN's course of action for the present and future.
The main objective of a country report is to contribute to main-streaming
the right to food in India by:
- Providing a clear illustration of Indian state's compliance with its
human rights obligations.
- Analyzing the government policies towards realization of right to
food and feed oneself.
- Documenting concrete cases of violations of right to food.
- Increasing general awareness and education about right to food.
- Developing network with like minded NGOs, movements, lawyers, state
representatives and other concerned citizens.
- Creating a platform for CSOs to raise voices and to influence
policy/implementation decisions of the state for full realization of
right to food and feed oneself.
The Country Report is an important reference document for India
providing methodologies of analysis of human right to food, documenting
current situation of the right to food in India, submitting reports to
relevant UN human rights bodies leading to development of similar reports
in other fields of ECOSOC and facilitate mainstreaming of right to food in
Indian civil society and with the Indian authorities.
Right to Work:
The Right to Work is an important Human Right which has been explained in
Articles 23 and 24 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and
Articles 6 and 7 and 8 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights. Everyone has the right to work and free choice of
employment in just and favorable conditions. Everyone has the right to be
protected against unemployment and the right to equal pay for equal work
without any discrimination, in particular women being guaranteed
conditions of work not inferior to those enjoyed by men. The right to work
emphasizes on the steps taken by a State Party for the achievement of the
full realization of this right and includes technical and vocational
guidance and training programmes, policies and techniques to achieve
steady economic, social and cultural development and full and productive
employment under conditions safeguarding fundamental political and
economic freedoms to the individual. It also includes safe and healthy
working conditions, rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working
hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public
holidays and the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection
of his interests.
FIAN's involvement: Awareness, campaign for full implementation of
the right without any discrimination against gender and race,
Sensitisation: Legislatures, politicians for ensuring
implementation of provisions under right to work, demanding social
security facilities for people working in the unorganized sector,
protection against unemployment n the era of globalization, minimum wage
to be ensured.
Right to Water:
Constitution of India as well as different International Human Rights
Instruments recognise that access to adequate amounts of safe and clean
water as a basic human right. The right to water is described in article
25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on an adequate standard of
living. The right to water and national governments' obligations to
respect, protect and fulfil this right is also inherent in Article 11 of
the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Furthermore, General Comment No. 15 adopted by the UN Committee on
Economic and Cultural Rights in November 2002 gives a detailed
interpretation of this right.
In India rapid industrialisation of agriculture has led to indiscriminate
and unlimited access of agricultural-resources to TNCs for commercial
production. The consumption of ground water for commercial agriculture has
increased to a unsuitable and unsustainable limit/rates. Like land, in the
agrarian sector of India, access to water is also highly skewed and water
is unevenly distributed which adversely affects the subsistence production
of marginalized peasants and share-croppers, exposing them and their
families to starvation and chronic malnutrition.
Water is also being increasingly privatised in India. The water resources
which are so far being considered as common property of the people are now
being sold off to private companies. Moreover, rural areas are often
denied of fresh and safe water as water is being increasingly diverted to
the urban areas, where high income allowed people to pay for water.
The shortage of water has already led to decreased harvests and hunger for
many local communities. There is therefore an urgent need to reject the
models of large-scale commercial agriculture, which depletes ground water
resources, and resist the invasion of agribusiness, which steal the water
resources of the people for making profit. A people-centred sustainable
model of agriculture should be adopted. Only this shift can ensure
people's right to water. The free and adequate access of rural poor to
water must be guaranteed. Any proposal or project (like River Linking
project in India, proposing to change the courses of the rivers for better
commercial use of water resources), undermining the rights of people to
get access to water should be rejected. Instead small-scale land and water
management technologies which fulfil the needs of poor rural women and men
more efficiently and ensure their access to larger quantities of water
should be adopted.
FIAN has been working on cases of violations of the right to water for
some time now. In January 2004, a FIAN fact-finding mission to India
documented violations of the right to water as a consequence of mining,
industrial activity, and water privatisation. FIAN intervention work and
advocacy is continuing in order to strengthen common people's access to
clean and safe water.