Gold or soilRight to humus

Everyone has a right to humus. Even if it has not yet been explicitly formulated in any human rights treaty or covenant, formulations in existing human rights instruments provide clear support to this idea. In addition it just makes sense!

As formulated in article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the States Parties to this Covenant “recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food...and to the continuous improvement of living conditions”, and further made a commitment to “improve methods of production, conservation and distribution of food by making full use of technical and scientific knowledge, by disseminating knowledge of the principles of nutrition and by developing or reforming agrarian systems in such a way as to achieve the most efficient development and utilization of natural resources”. Being one of the most essential non-renewable natural resources to guarantee food production, this clearly includes humus.

Furthermore, General Comment 12 of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights explicitly notes the importance of “food being accessible for both present and future generations”. Without humus, it will be difficult to grow food in the future. In line with these formulations, it is argued that even without the immediate occurrence of hunger, all current agricultural policies and the therewith promoted methods of food production have a human rights relevance today and everywhere.


While it may sound somewhat abstract, the concept is simple:

Humans need humus. Humans need food and food needs humus: no humus, no food, no humans


The right to humus is an issue in countries all over the world. Sufficient fertile soil is essential for us humans. The availability or lack of fertile land can have a great impact on countries (e.g. poverty, violence, wars, landgrabbing, etc.). We need legal frameworks that protect our soil (and us).


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Read more about the right to humus in the EU

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