Today, 22 November 2016, United Nations experts have released a powerful statement which makes it clear that breastfeeding is a human rights issue for babies and mothers and should be protected and promoted for the benefit of both. The Statement says that children have the right to the highest attainable standard of health and that breastfeeding is an integral part of this.
It goes on to say that women have the right to accurate, unbiased information to be able to make informed choices, as well as to good quality health services and adequate maternity protection in the workplace.
In the joint statement issued by UN Special Rapporteurs on the Right to Food, Right to Health, the Working Group on discrimination against women and the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the call is made for States to do more to support and protect breastfeeding and to end inappropriate and aggressive marketing of breastmilk substitutes.
The statement emphasises that women who do not want to or can’t breastfeed should not be condemned or judged and that they need access to good quality breastmilk substitutes. However, these should be regulated and affordable and promotion of these should not undermine breastfeeding or have a negative effect on a woman’s choices.
La Leche League GB welcomes this statement which emphasises the need to make sure women’s rights are protected from harmful interference from others, in particular the business sector, and they are “not exposed to harmful gender stereotypes and taboos regarding natural and biological functions such as breastfeeding”.
You can read the full statement here: