Human Rights Council Opens with Focus on Horn of Africa Drought

Human Rights Council12 September 2011: The Human Rights Council (HRC) opened its 18th regular session in Geneva, Switzerland, with numerous speakers calling attention to the humanitarian challenges in the Horn of Africa due to the food emergency and fears of a new global recession.

Delegates heard statements from Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Benin and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Navi Pillay, and engaged in a general debate. Pillay noted that the emergency in the Horn of Africa, where as many as 750,000 lives are at risk, was a natural phenomena and the failure of governments to meet their preventive and remedial human rights obligations. He indicated that a denial of the right to food would jeopardize the right to health and put in risk the right to life.

The representatives of Malaysia and Bangladesh stressed that the impacts of climate change exacerbated the humanitarian and food crisis in the Horn of Africa. [OHCHR Press Release]