Background

The COVID 19 pandemic is wreaking havoc across the globe. The crisis is detrimentally affecting all civil, political, economic, social, cultural, and developmental rights. In Uganda, the government put up measures to prevent the spread of this virus and one of the key elements was a lockdown to control congestion in public places and temporary closing some offices and businesses.
Many people have bought and are keeping food to take them and their families through this pandemic. They buy food with long shelf life from shops. It should be noted that there is no mechanism of tracing for food in Uganda.
Government has also adopted the centralized mechanism of distributing food to the vulnerable population in the districts of Wakiso and Kampala which comprise of many urban dwellers that depend on a daily income to survive.
In a bid to support this effort and to assist this good cause, many corporate bodies, industries, companies and individuals offered food items to the National Task Force majorly consisting of maize flour and beans.

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Background

The government of Uganda is under a legal mandate to uphold, protect, and fulfill the rights of all Ugandans including children’s rights to safety, health, adequate food, and well-being. Many Ugandans are however suffering and at risk of chronic, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers, and other obesity-related conditions yet these can be prevented.

In Uganda, Non-Communicable Diseases kill up to 100,000 people annually, which is 35% of the total annual deaths. Uganda is a member of the World Health Organisation and passed a resolution to act on the main risk factors for Non-Communicable Diseases that is the unhealthy diet. Unhealthy diets start in childhood and build up throughout life; associated with overweight and obesity and children must maintain a healthy weight and consume foods that are low in saturated fat, trans-fatty acids, free sugars, or salt in order to reduce future risk of non-communicable diseases.

Marketing, advertising and broadcast of unhealthy foods and beverages in Uganda by the media is done before and after the watershed time lines, exposing children to unhealthy diets compromising their safety, right to health and the right to adequate food.

The respondents have failed and omitted to protect children from the adverse impact of marketing of unhealthy diets on children’s health in accordance with the rights of children as acknowledged by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the right to adequate food, as set out in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (7), and consistent with the United Nations guidelines for consumer protection.

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Introduction

Uganda is currently on lockdown due to the COVID-19 global pandemic which has had devastating effects including loss of lives across the world.  In response to the global pandemic, the government of Uganda put directives to stop social gatherings of all kinds including public transport and all services except essentials were closed. All towns and villages are on lockdown. This has led to the disruption of the social order including access to medicines and all services including food.

The government made a plan to supply food relief for the Central business district people and refused to cover other vulnerable communities who were working from hand to mouth in other districts. However, the plan has not been fully implemented up-to-date and yet people who were hand to mouth earners across the country have started starving.

Before COVID-19, 38% of children under the age of 5 were malnourished and this percentage is expected to have increased because parents do not have food to feed their children.

Before COVID-19, more than 30 percent of the total population faced some level of chronic food insecurity. The causes of food insecurity in Uganda are multifaceted, often a result of poverty, landlessness, high fertility, natural disasters, high food prices, lack of education, and the fact that a majority of Ugandans depend on agriculture as a main source of income. This has tripled in the past three months because of the lockdown due to the global pandemic and also the changes in weather conditions of Uganda.

It is on that note that CEFROHT decided to reach out to the vulnerable people in its community and supply them with some food items. We introduced a communication line where the people in need of food assistance especially the vulnerable people call, get their details, and then deliver food to their doorstep using our delivery services.

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Press Conference on World Food Safety Day

In December 2018, the UN General Assembly designated 7th June as World Food Safety Day. In the year 2020, the day was held the theme “Food safety, everyone’s business”

A press confrence was held on that day by civil society organisations promoting the right to food in Uganda including The Food Rights Alliance (FRA), Centre for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT) and the Southern and Eastern Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI).

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CEFROHT is implementing nutrition and urban farming project. This is through training women in food security, nutrition, and the right to adequate food. Women are trained on how to engage and dialogue with local leaders for the right to adequate food through public participation for inputs and community mobilization.

We, civil society organizations working on trade, investment, human rights, environment, women’s rights, and labor rights-related issues, wish to register our apprehensions for the continued promotion and protection of the rights of commercial investment schemes such as factories, flower firms, and plantation-based investments, at the expense of individuals, communities and environmental rights.

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