The United Nations human rights commission has appointed the former Swiss parliamentarian, Jean Ziegler, to oversee the inclusion of the right to food in the universal declaration of human rights.
The former Social Democrat parliamentarian and sociologist confirmed newspaper reports on Sunday that the Geneva appointment was effective immediately.
Ziegler said he would have three years during which to consult UN member countries and prepare a clause, to be introduced into the human rights charter, stating the right to food as a basic human right.
He said the UN high commissioner for human rights, Mary Robinson, had chosen him because of "a combination of Switzerland's interest in the post, and my personal involvement with developing countries."
Ziegler recently published a book entitled "World Hunger as Explained to my Son", in which he states that 100,000 people die of hunger every day, and that some 90 million people suffer from malnutrition.
The sociologist said he was "impressed" by the support he received for his nomination from the Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, and the foreign minister, Joseph Deiss.
Cuba and many of the lesser-developed countries first mooted the idea of including the right to food in the charter, but came up against opposition from several camps, including the US government.
swissinfo with agencies
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