Saturday, February 13, 2010
CRC Confirms Importance of Breastfeeding as Human Right
By James Achanyi-Fontem,
Coordinator, WABA Men’s Initiative
IBFAN’s Human Rights Intern of Child Rights Committee, Ina Verzivolli, described the last CRC session in January 2010 as a great success due to the big impact that IBFAN reports had on the issues that were discussed in Geneva, Switzerland.
Ina Verzivolli added that the session was a great success in terms of promoting breastfeeding as a human right in a summarized results sheet of the CRC session published last February 12. She lauded the work of IBFAN and praised the commitment of members. It is now left for the recommendations to be transformed in action for the continued struggle to protect and promote breastfeeding world wide. The summary report was delivered as follows:
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) confirms the importance of Breastfeeding as a Human Right.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child has recommended to almost all the countries reviewed during its last session (Session 53, January 2010), to protect and promote breastfeeding as a fundamental right of the child. These recommendations were the consequence of reports submitted to the Committee by National IBFAN Groups on the situation of breastfeeding in their countries. IBFAN considers this a great achievement in relation to its mission of upholding breastfeeding rights for children and mothers all around the world.
The 53rd session of the Committee of on the Rights of the Child, took place in Geneva in January 2010. Eight countries were reviewed on their efforts to implement the Convention of the Rights of the Child: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mongolia, Norway, Paraguay and Tajikistan. In almost all reviews, breastfeeding was on the top list of health-related issues.
IBFAN groups from six of the countries under review had submitted reports about the situation of breastfeeding in their countries. These reports highlight the main problems in relation to infant and young child nutrition, the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, the implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, maternity protection at work and the situation of maternal health.
The Committee published its recommendations to the national governments at the end of the review process. In six out of eight countries it referred to breastfeeding issues, recommending the governments to take specific measures in this regard. Almost every recommendation in the area of breastfeeding relied on the information provided to the Committee by IBFAN groups. In the case of Cameroun, the Committee adopted the entire list of recommendations made by the IBFAN Group of this country.
The «concluding observations» of the Committee, which take the form of «recommendations» for future action to the national governments, included the following (for a detailed list by country see the table below):
1.Concern about low rates of exclusive breastfeeding for infants up to 6 months;
2.The importance of the protection of breastfeeding in national laws and the effective implementation of these laws;
3.Adoption and implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes;
4.Promotion of breastfeeding and the advantages of exclusive breastfeeding;
5.allocation of resources for breastfeeding policies and programmes;
6.Promotion of education on child health and nutrition;
7.Improvement of the data collection systems;
8.Need for governments to engage civil society in drawing national breastfeeding policies and action plans.
Since 1997, IBFAN’s efforts in the field of human/child rights have been to call upon governments to fulfil their obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), in particular regarding article 24 on the child’s right to the highest attainable standard of health, optimal nutrition, as well as correct and unbiased information on nutrition. Thanks to our constant reporting (more than 150 reports from IBFAN groups worldwide), IBFAN has succeeded in raising the awareness and attention of CRC Committee members.
This is a great success!
However, much work needs to be done to translate these recommendations into reality. The next step for IBFAN Groups, as well as for every actor in civil society that works in the area of infant and child nutrition, is to push their national government while working hand in hand with it to solve problems and find solutions.