Geneva residents to vote on whether to protect right to food

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected]
Geneva residents to vote on whether to protect right to food
Thousands of Geneva residents lined up for free food during the Covid pandemic. Photo: Fabrice Coffin / AFP

On Sunday, voters in the Swiss canton of Geneva will go to the polls to decide whether the right to food should be enshrined in their constitution.


The idea to ensure that no resident goes hungry was born during the peak of the Covid pandemic, when thousands of people queued up every Saturday in Geneva to receive free food. 

On Sunday, voters in the canton will weigh in on the bill subsequently proposed by the centre-left coalition, guaranteeing that everyone in the canton has access to sufficient and sustainable food supply.

If it is approved, the right to food will become a constitutional right in Geneva, along with those already enshrined in the canton's constitution, like the right to dignity, housing and education.

Such an amendment “would change things enormously,” according to Christophe Golay, researcher at the Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Geneva. 

“It would be a political commitment, a real public policy in this area, rules to be respected.”

‘Individual responsibility’

However, not everyone in Geneva supports the idea.

Not surprisingly, the opposition comes from the political right.

According to MP Alexis Barbey, “by transferring to the State the concern for finding what to eat, we take away the individual responsibility.“

“This is asking others to take care of our basic needs,” he added.


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