The Committee on the Rights of the Child has finally released their Concluding Observations for the countries that were reviewed in January 2011 (Afghanistan, Belarus, Denmark, Lao PDR, New Zealand, Singapore and Ukraine) – and it has continuously stressed the importance of breastfeeding in promoting the right of children to the highest attainable standard of health.
The Concluding Observations refer to breastfeeding in all cases (but Belarus), reflecting the information that was sent as part of the IBFAN alternative reports. The Committee has stressed the importance of fully adopting and enforcing the International Code: this has been recommended to 6 countries out of 7. Also, it has reiterated the importance of implementing the BFHI, including breastfeeding in training programmes for nurses, and the need to strengthen the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding for children up to 6 months.
Governments have been urged to collaborate with NGOs in order to fulfil their human rights obligations. Therefore NGOs are encouraged to use these recommendations as a powerful tool for actions and initiatives to enhance the right of the child to the highest attainable standard of health.
The table contains a summary of the recommendations related to breastfeeding. The full text of the Concluding Observations for all countries can be accessed here: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/crcs56.htm .
CRC Session 56 - January 2011
Summary of specific recommendations on BF (and related issues)
Direct (Para 51-52):
- Enhance efforts to promote exclusive BF practices;
- Comply with the International Code (IC);
- Improve access to and quality of health care and nutrition services throughout the country;
- Ensure the availability of qualified medical staff, including in remote rural areas.
Direct (Para 47-48):
- Fully implement the IC;
- Promote baby-friendly hospitals;
- Encourage BF to be included in nursery trainings;
- Collect systematic data on BF in accordance with international rules.
Direct (Para 52-53-54)
- Strengthen awareness raising efforts on the importance of exclusive BF for children up to 6 months;
- Formally adopt and implement the IC;
- Strengthen strategies to reduce and eliminate child malnutrition;
- Strengthen efforts to reduce infant, child and maternal mortality;
- Ensure the provision of adequate training for health personnel.
Direct (Para 38-39):
- Continue efforts to increase exclusive BF up to 6 months;
- Focus on awareness-raising on the benefits of exclusive BF among the Maori population;
- Fully implement the IC;
- Further promote the BFHI;
- Encourage BF to be included in nursery trainings.
Direct (Para 56-57):
- Strengthen awareness raising efforts on exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months;
- Ensure that the main maternal hospital meets the standards required by BFHI;
- Review, strengthen and enforce the Singapore voluntary code on the marketing of BMS;
- Adopt and implement the ICMBS;
- Include breastfeeding breaks in maternity legislation;
- Ratify the ILO Convention 183 on maternity protection.
Direct (Para 53-54):
- Strengthen promotion of BF;
- Enforce the ICMBS;
- Prioritize primary health care system and the quality of health care;
- Increase budgetary allocation to the health care sector.