UPDATE: SRI LANKA: The denial food to infants – Newspaper report and link with international organization


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-41-2001
ISSUES: Right to food,

P-41-2001 (RE: UA26/01: Nestle, Anchor, Government, IMF denying food to infants

UPDATE: Newspaper report and link with international organization 

Dear Friends, 

Regarding the campaign for the reduction of milk prices in Sri Lanka, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) issued an urgent appeal and several updates based on the work of the People’s Campaign to Reduce Milk Prices in order to put pressure on the milk companies to lower their prices and the Sri Lankan government to take action to resolve this serious socio-economic issue. 

Today we are sending you the following newspaper report that appeared in the Sinhala newspaper, Lakibima on Oct. 1, World Children’s Day, in order to draw your attention and solicit your support for this issue. 

We are also pleased to inform you that information about this campaign has been posted on the Baby Milk Action web site in England which seeks to save lives and to end the avoidable suffering caused by inappropriate infant feeding. Please visit this web site at http://www.babymilkaction.org/ 

Thank you. 

Urgent Appeals Desk 
Asian Human Rights Commission 


Title: The Majority of the Children in Sri Lanka Are Starving 

– 500,000 children are oppressed by the war. 
– 1.8 million children are malnourished. 
– 200,000 children are disabled. 
– 60,000 children do not go to school. 
– 15,000 street children exist. 
– No survey has been done on the state of children since 1991. 
– Sri Lanka signed the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1991, but still Sri Lanka does not have a steering committee to put the requirements of the convention into practice. 
– By the year 2000, 991 schools had been closed. 

Surveys conducted by governmental and non-govenmental organisations (NGOs) have shown that more than half the population of children in Sri Lanka have become serious victims of the war or of malnutrition or have disabilities or have dropped out of school or are living on the streets. Out of a total population of 5.55 million children, 3.04 million children suffer from the problems above. The number of children directly oppressed by the war in the North and East of the country is about 500,000. These survey reports show that there are more than 1.8 million children affected by malnutrition throughout the country. Furthermore, there are about 222,000 disabled children in the country. There are also about 60,000 children of school-going age who do not attend school, and about 15,000 children live on the streets. 

Although the situation is this bad, the government has not conducted any survey on the situation of children affected by the war after a similar survey was conducted by the Ministry of Plan Implementation. The commissioner of probation and child security, Ashoka Peiris, however, has shown that one child out of every 11 children in Sri Lanka suffers from these conditions. 

Throughout the country, 60,000 children do not attend school; and according to the reports of the Department of Education, 991 schools had been closed by the end of the year 2000. Out of these schools, 187 schools were located in the Northern and Eastern provinces. Most of them are being used as refugee camps. Furthermore, an additional 50 percent to 60 percent of the school children in the Northern and Eastern provinces are said to have been recruited by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for their armed forces. Although 4 percent of the child population in Sri Lanka is disabled, only 1.5 percent of them are assisted by the government and NGOs. Although the Sri Lankan government signed the CRC in 1991, not even a national committee for implementation of this convention has not been set up after 10 years. 

According to this convention, the secretary of the Social Services Ministry becomes the ex-officio president of this committee, and the activities of this committee have to expand throughout the country in order to reach the divisional secretariat divisions. As a result of this requirement, legal provisions do not exist to sufficiently protect children in the country. Even when a child is raped, it is simply considered a case of rape against a woman. 

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-41-2001
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Right to food,