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Lebanon: UN Expert On Food ‘Very Concerned’

Lebanon: UN Expert On Food ‘Very Concerned’ At Conflict’s Impact On Rural Population

New York, Sep 19 2006 4:00PM

Following a week-long visit to areas of Lebanon badly hit by the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah in July and August, a United Nations food expert has expressed great concern that the long-term effects on the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people will be severe.

Special Rapporteur on the right to food Jean Ziegler said in a statement issued in Geneva yesterday that he was informed of the extensive direct and indirect damage caused by Israeli bombardment to agriculture and fishing, affecting the livelihood and access to sources of income of hundreds of thousands of rural inhabitants and thousands of fishermen.

“In addition, the Rapporteur received consistent information on the serious impact the conflict has had on access to safe drinking water as well as on the irrigation system,” the statement said. “This has exacerbated the precariousness of the access that rural people have to sources of income.

“The Special Rapporteur was also disturbed by the view of the destruction in certain areas of the country and by the large number of unexploded ordnance which remains in agricultural fields, preventing farmers from irrigating, harvesting and planting.”

Mr. Ziegler will report on his findings and formulate recommendations during the second session of the UN Human Rights Council that is currently underway in Geneva.

Special Rapporteurs are unpaid and serve in an independent personal capacity.

Ends

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