According to The Inquirer, The United Nations Commission on Human Rights is backing the Philippine campaign against international milk formula companies. These are the companies that sell so-called infant formula (ever wondered what that is really made of?) and spend massive amounts on advertising, to get young mothers to buy the stuff.
Jean Ziegler, the commission’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food has written to congratulate the Philippine government’s effort in the face of “increasing internal pressures.”
She cited the revised implementing rules and regulations of the new Milk Code, which has been under attack from the US Chamber of Commerce (pdf) and foreign companies, such as Wyeth and Nestlé.
Baby Milk Action, the NGO supporting breast feeding, also has updates on the murder of Assistant Solicitor General Nestor J. Ballocillo, the lawyer who worked on introducing the breast feeding code in the Philippines. Photos from a demonstration and a press release can be found here. Also, in 2005, the President of the trade union in the Philippines, Diosdado Fortuna, who organized a long-running strike at a Nestlé factory, was killed.
Patti Rundall OBE, Policy Director, at Baby Milk Action, said:
"Having just returned from the Philippines, the news of this assassination is really disturbing. Assistant Solicitor General Ballcillio was highly respected and seems to have been loved by all who had the privilege to work with him.
"Of course nobody knows at this stage which - if any - of the cases being handled by him led to his murder. But clearly the Solicitor General believes there may a link to his advocacy for breastfeeding.
"We must not forget that infant feeding is a highly politicised issue. Milk is after all a multi-billion pound global business and in the Philippines is the 6th most advertised product with ads in every magazine I picked up. But while some are making healthy profits from this trade, according to the World Health Organisation, the 16,000 Filipino children who die every year due to inappropriate feeding are paying the real price.
"We send our condolences to all our colleagues who are working on this vital issue and wish them courage."
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