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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Root Causes of Migration: Food Insecurity and the Right to Food in Central America

Thursday, September 23, 2021 - 10:00am
Virtual via WebEx


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on responses to hunger and food insecurity in Central America, a driver of migration from the region.

Millions of people in the countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua suffer from food insecurity, meaning they are do not have access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Last February the World Food Programme (WFP) reported that hunger had increased almost fourfold, from 2.2 million in 2018 to close to 8 million in 2021, due to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and years of extreme climate events, including drought and two major hurricanes. The destruction of farms and low food stocks were among the reasons that 15% of people surveyed by WFP said they were making concrete plans to migrate.

Art. 25 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food …” According to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, states should ensure that food is available, satisfies dietary needs, is safe and free from adverse substances, is culturally acceptable, and is economically and physically accessible. El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua have formally recognized the right to food by ratifying the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the San Salvador Protocol.

Witnesses will discuss humanitarian and development programs currently being implemented to assist Central American civil society and governments in ending hunger and food insecurity, and offer recommendations for complementing those efforts.

This hearing will be virtual. Pursuant to H. Res. 965,  Members of Congress and witnesses will participate remotely via Cisco WebEx. Members of the public and the media may view the hearing by live webcast on the Commission website. The hearing will also be available for viewing on the House Digital Channel Service. For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton (for Co-Chair McGovern) or Piero Tozzi (for Co-Chair Smith).

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC
Christopher H. Smith
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC

Opening Remarks


Panel I

Panel II

Panel III


Submitted for the Record


117th Congress