Stop US Intervention Against Breastfeeding! sign now

Help us save 16,000 Filipino childrens lives every year and 1.5 million babies dying every year throughout the world, because they were not breastfed.

To counter the mounting pressure that US officials and businessmen exert against breastfeeding advocates and Philippine health officials to prevent them from strictly implementing the laws that protect breastfeeding, the initiator of this petition-signing organized two simultaneous breastfeeding Guinness World Records in single and multiple sites in the Philippines, synchronized breastfeeding worldwide and initiated Senate and Congress hearings in her country. The battle has reached the Supreme Court and the case is still being adjudicated. The case constitutes a precedent that may affect the Breastfeeding Movement in the entire world, especially in developing countries where the financial muscle of multinational corporations and official American pressure are influencing national policies.

We humbly submit for your consideration this petition to the people and leaders of the United States from the mothers and breastfeeding advocates of the world, in consideration of the coming US presidential election, and the opportunity it provides us who are gathered here from all over the world, to acquaint them of our concerns, especially those of the poor countries, that they may better exercise their role as the leader and role model of the world.

This petition was circulated during the 50th Anniversary International Conference of the La Leche League International in Chicago, USA last July 20-23, 2007.

Elvira L. Henares-Esguerra, MD, FPDS, RPh, IBCLC
Director and Co-Founder
Children for Breastfeeding, Inc., Philippines
TESDA Womens Center, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines
[email protected]

TO THE PEOPLE AND LEADERS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
From the mothers and breastfeeding advocates of the world

Whereas, the people of the United States are facing a presidential election year in 2008 that may bring to the fore, a leadership dedicated to the betterment of mankind, a role reserved by destiny for them as a democratic nation and as the greatest military and economic power the world has ever known; and as such are in a position to help the underdeveloped nations resolve many of their concerns in their struggle to survive;

Whereas, mothers and breastfeeding advocates of the entire world are gathered here in the City of Chicago, Illinois, USA, during the 50th Anniversary Conference of the La Leche League from July 20-23, 2007;

Whereas, the La Leche League has brought together breastfeeding advocates all over the world in support, by word and by deed, of the World Health Organizations and the UNICEFs International Code on the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and Related Products of 1981; the Innocenti Declaration of 1990; the Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1998; the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative of 1992; and the Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding of 2005;

Whereas, the breastfeeding issue is not only a gender issue, it is even more so a public health issue, an economic issue, an ecology issue, and above all, a human rights issue -- it is a public health issue because breastfeeding is the gold standard that provides immunity from childhood diseases, and nutrients that guarantee emotional stability and intellectual development that no breastmilk substitutes could ever hope to provide -- it is an economic issue because Breastfeeding is the most far-reaching and cheapest strategy for the alleviation of poverty, and while breastmilk is free, massive importation of cows milk and milk products divert resources that might have been used to encourage agricultural production of indigenous foods more nutritious than cows milk, and build more educational and housing facilities -- it is an ecology issue because breastfeeding does not require clean water, fuel, disposable containers as breastmilk substitutes do -- it is a political issue because it pits powerful multinational corporations, sometimes with the help of the US government, against weak governments and unfunded breastfeeding advocates -- above all, it is a human rights issue because it addresses the issue of the right of women to equality and empowerment, and the right of children, as defined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to the best nutrition and care available, and finally because it concerns the SOCIAL CAPITAL by which the future citizens of the world may survive, prosper, and contribute to the betterment of all humankind;

Whereas, Formula Milk Manufacturers, mainly based in the United States, for the most part violate international treaties and covenants, in letter and in spirit, legally or illegally, especially in Third World underdeveloped countries, where their tremendous financial power with the help of the American Chamber of Commerce and certain agencies of the US Embassy, have allowed them to unduly influence government officials, health workers, doctors, medical societies, media (print, radio, TV), to subvert the breastfeeding culture with massive advertising campaigns and preposterous nutritional claims they would not even claim in their own countries,

Now therefore, the undersigned mothers and breastfeeding advocates, representing themselves, their organizations and their respective nations, as well as American citizens who believe in the cause of breastfeeding, do humbly and respectfully petition the people and leaders of the United States,
(1) to enjoin the multinational milk companies as well as the United States government to respect the 2001 Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health that Public Health is far more important than issues involving intellectual property rights (WTO on 14 November 2001 declared, The TRIPS Agreement does not and should not prevent members from taking measures to protect public health; a joint WTO-WHO study in 2002 reaffirmed that statement);
(2) to enjoin US embassies to observe international protocol in presenting their demands to other countries, that is, to course their demands in writing through the Foreign Ministry of the country involved, instead of utilizing back channels and verbal intervention to impose its will on government officials, especially when it involves issues of Breastfeeding;
(3) to make sure that the breastfeeding issue is taken up in every political platform in the coming US presidential elections for the consideration of the entire electorate; and finally
(4) to make it understood among all nations on earth that Americas main business is NOT business itself or corporate profits, but more importantly, international amity and the betterment of all humankind, as befits a nation with the might and power to lead the world.

Done in the City of Chicago, Illinois, under the hospitality of the American people, on the 23rd day of July in the Year of the Lord, 2007.

The following are the initial signatories of the petition:

1. Elvira L. Henares-Esguerra, MD, FPDS, RPh, IBCLC Pasig City, Philippines
2. Nona D. Andaya-Castillo, IBCLC Valenzuela City Philippines
3. Hilarion M. Henares Jr. Makati City, Philippines
4. Evangelina Suaverdez Makati City , Philippines
5. Mary Ann Kerwin Colorado, USA
6. Mary Ann Cahill McHenry, IL, USA
7. Chele Marmet Los Angeles, USA
8. Sally Gonzalez St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
9. Audrey J. Naylor Vermont, USA
10. Marie Bevins, RN, IBCLC Las Vegas, NV, USA
11. Stacy Rosales Lakewood CA, USA
12. Margaret A. Grant San Diego, CA, USA
13. Susan Mocsay Baker Westborough, MA, USA
14. Karen Lyons Walnut, CA, USA
15. Patricia Eveland Diaz Poway, CA, USA
16. Holly Freedman Hollander West Hills, CA, USA
17. Shari Slady San Diego, CA, USA
18. Linda J. Smith, IBCLC Dayton, OH, USA
19. Marjorie S. Deutsch Lash Irvine, CA, USA
20. Fran Derszemke Orange County, CA, USA
21. Guadalupe B. Forsanz Hesperia, CA, USA
22. Rebecca Magalhaes USA
23. Chris Mulford USA
24. Nancy Williams USA
25. Kathleen L. Hoover USA
26. Gretchen Andrews USA
27. Edwina H. Froehlich USA
28. Paul Froehlich, (D, IL) USA
29. Sharon Froehlich USA
30. Kristine E. Payson USA
31. Deborah Chapdelaine USA
32. B. Celeste Schoen USA
33. Claire Connell USA
34. Rebecca B. Saenz, MD USA
35. Linda S. Anderegg, IBCLC USA
36. Mary Kay Smith, RN, IBCLC USA
37. Christine Orland Gervais USA
38. Shannon Miller Ward USA
39. Rebecca N. Ruhlen USA
40. Nancy A. King USA
41. Lenora S. Mesibov USA
42. Mary Kay Linge USA
43. Kathleen A. Whitfield USA
44. Elisabet Helsing Norway
45. P.E. Hartmann Australia
46. Leon Mitoalas Australia
47. Donna Geddes Australia
48. Maryanne Stone Jimenez Canada
49. Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC Toronto, Canada
50. Ding Bing China
51. Ivy Makelin China
52. Santiago Vallone Buenos Aires, Argentina
53. Felicity Savage UK
54. Prashant Gangal India
55. Susan Siew Penang, Malaysia
56. Sarah Amin Penang. Malaysia
57. Liew Mun Tip Penang, Malaysia
58. Julianna Lim Abdullah Penang, Malaysia
59. Negeyaelwasiig Sudan
60. Diogo Mboa Mozambique
61. J. Humphrier New Zealand
62. Alison Barrett, MD, FRC(S)C, FRANZCOG Hamilton, New Zealand

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Diann GeorgeBy:
Business and CompaniesIn:
Petition target:
The People and Leaders of the United States of America

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