“And they die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”
According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each year due to poverty. Around 28 percent of children in developing countries are deemed underweight or stunted. An estimated 1.1 Billion people lack access to clean water and 2.6 Billion lack basic sanitation. Over 1 billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or write their name. Over 3 billion people in the world live on less than $2.50 (American Dollars) a day. That is almost half of the world’s population.
According to a study, less than one per cent of what the world spends every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.
As the United States begins its election season, we will inevitably hear an abundance of promises. We will be told that we need to raise taxes or lower taxes, get rid of agencies, or build more. We will be promised the end of wars, and advised whether or not to give health care to all Americans. One thing we certainly will not be told, however, is how to cure the epic global pandemics of poverty and hunger.
Whose responsibility is it to cure world hunger? The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) mandates that contracting parties ensure the Covenant to “the maximum of its available resources.” Those obligations are, among others, “the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.” The problem, however, is that there is no judicial forum to enforce these provisions, and so they are essentially non-binding on the signing parties. Should there be a forum to prosecute countries for their failures to provide adequate conditions for their needy? Should nations like the United States play a bigger part in curing poverty and world hunger?