For Immediate Release

Contact:
Shari Ireton
University of Washington School of Law
206.685.9002

2007-10-08

Speaker to Present Proposed Treaty to Eradicate International Hunger

A proposed treaty that aims to eradicate hunger through international law, known as the International Food Security Treaty (IFST), will be presented by John Teton, founder and director of the IFST Campaign October 22 at 4 p.m. in Room 133 of William H. Gates Hall. Teton's presentation, titled “Conquering Paradigm Paralysis: Human Rights Law and End of World Hunger”, is sponsored by the Gates Public Service Law Program and the Global Health and Justice Project.

Supporters describe the IFST as the critical missing link in the world’s efforts to overcome hunger, a global public health problem with more victims than all the world’s wars and crimes combined. Based on existing international covenants, the IFST was developed in consultation with food security advocates from around the world. It is designed to be a legally binding international agreement, delineating the responsibilities of nations to prevent starvation and malnutrition, with enforcement provisions to ensure that they are carried out. Examples of legally prohibited activity would be the use of starvation as a weapon, as happened in Somalia in 1992, or channeling famine-preventing food supplies away from civilians to support military forces, as has happened more recently in North Korea and the Sudan.

United Nations Undersecretary-General Maurice Strong, an expert in global commerce and a veteran in the field of international law, has stated “I’m very sympathetic to (the IFST)…as the centerpiece of a whole system by which the capacity of the earth to feed its people is translated into a real commitment to do something, because there’s no fundamental need for hunger now, and certainly none for starvation.”

Teton came to the West Coast in the 1970s after graduating from Harvard and working in the film industry in New York. Since developing the IFST principles in the early 1990s, he has appeared on behalf of the IFST Campaign at many universities, including the law schools at Harvard and the University of California campuses in Berkeley and Los Angeles, the University of California, San Francisco, and at briefings in Washington, D.C. including two before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. He is the author of the novel Upsurge.