The 63rd session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC Committee) took place in Geneva from 27 May to 14 June 2013. The Committee reviewed the progress of the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 6 countries: Armenia, Guinea-Bissau, Israel, Rwanda, Slovenia and Uzbekistan.
IBFAN submitted alternative reports on the situation of infant and young child feeding for all the countries under review. Some of the reports were written in collaboration with IBFAN groups and contacts in the countries and the regional offices.
In its concluding observations, the CRC Committee referred specifically to breastfeeding in 5 out of the 6 countries. With the exception of Israel, all the other countries received concluding observations on infant and child nutrition, and breastfeeding in particular.
The Committee recommended states to promote adequate infant and young child feeding practices including exclusive breastfeeding of children up to the age of 6 months (Armenia, Guinea-Bissau, Rwanda and Uzbekistan), to support exclusive breastfeeding and ensure that parents and communities are informed about it and its advantages (Guinea-Bissau and Uzbekistan). The Committee has stressed the need to collect data on breastfeeding (Slovenia) and to adopt international definitions for data collection in order to, inter alia, identify intervention for infant mortality reduction including BFHi and breastfeeding information (Uzbekistan). Adopting a national law or policy on breastfeeding is another recommended action (Armenia and Guinea-Bissau).
All countries that received direct recommendations on breastfeeding issues are urged to revitalize or start to implement the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative.
Emphasis is put on the importance of controlling marketing practices of breastmilk substitutes. Some countries are recommended to monitor, or strengthen the monitoring of, existing marketing regulations and to take action against violations (Armenia and Slovenia), while others are urged to adopt and enforce the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (Guinea-Bissau, Rwanda and Uzbekistan), with Uzbekistan specifically recommended to adopt it as national law. In the case of Slovenia the recommendations on the Code are quite elaborated, with mention to regulation of also bottles and teats and to safeguarding against marketing in Maternity Care Institutions.
Regarding maternity protection at work, Uzbekistan is recommended to extend the post-birth period of the maternity leave in order to facilitate exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, while Guinea-Bissau is advised to ratify the ILO Convention concerning the revision of the Maternity Protection Convention (Revised), 1952 (No.183).
On health more generally, the CRC Committee focused on the need to ensure equal access to health care services, with regard to both urban-rural differences and ethnic differences (Armenia, Israel, Rwanda and Slovenia). Access should also not impeded by the practice of informal fees, that should be eliminated (Armenia and Uzbekistan). The Committee highlighted the importance of quality of health care services that should be pursued by allocating adequate human, financial and technical resources to the health sector (Armenia, Guinea-Bissau, Israel, Rwanda and Uzbekistan).
Combating and preventing childhood obesity (Armenia and Slovenia) and preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (Armenia, Guinea-Bissau, Uzbekistan) are other important issues addressed in the concluding observations.
For the full report read here