2009 Hunger Alerts
INDIA: Government's neglect and corruption drives a 30 year-old Dalit woman to death through starvation
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) draws your attention to the starvation death of a 30-year-old woman belonging to the Scheduled Caste (known as 'untouchables' or 'Dalits') in Jabalpur district, Madhya Pradesh. According to the field research by Jay Shiksha Kendra and the Right to Food Support Group, all the members of the family, including the victim, could barely manage to obtain half a piece of Indian bread per day during the last month. The deceased victim did not eat any food for four days before she died on December 16, 2009. Despite of this, to date, no government programmes targeting the poor have reached the family.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information regarding malnourished children in the villages of Java Block, Rewa District. We have found that many children are severely malnourished and the government schemes and programs guaranteeing right to food, including heath care and employment are not fully implemented because of discrimination against the tribal community as well as the corruption of the duty bearers. Despite the demand for immediate action for the severely malnourished children, neither government authorities nor the health institution has taken any action.
INDIA: 22 children died of malnutrition associated with diseases for past two months in Sidhi district, Madhya Pradesh
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes to draw your attention to the 22 children who died of malnutrition associated with relevant diseases for past two months in Sidhi district where is highly predominated by tribal communities. According to the report the AHRC received from civil groups including Dalit - Adiwasi Mahapanchaayat, Mahila Adhikar Manch, Janpehal and Right to Food Campaign (Madhya Pradesh), twenty two children died in four villages from August to October 2009. They revealed that the health institutions as well as public food distribution scheme guaranteeing right to food and health has failed to reach the region’s poor tribal communities. Despite these findings, the local administration has not taken substantial action.
INDIA: Approximately 83 percent of the children are malnourished in eight villages, Rewa district, Madhya Pradesh
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is writing to draw your attention to the child malnutrition in Madhya Pradesh. According to the recent report received from Birsa Munda Bhu Adhikar Manch (Birsa Munda Forum for Land Rights) Rewa, MPLSSM and Right to Food Campaign Madhya Pradesh Support Group, about 83 percent of the children belonging to the tribal communities in eight villages in Rewa District are malnourished. The malnourished children in Rewa have been concealed by the Collector who said that there were no malnourished children in Rewa when a number of malnourished children were found out and died in Madhya Pradesh in 2008. Despite the fact that the villagers are deprived of their rights to food and work caused by lack of livelihood and the malfunction of government schemes, the state government as well as local administration have not taken any substantial action for those children and their families till now.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) that four-year-old Ibran suffers from Grade IV malnutrition which falls in the category of Severely Acute Malnutrition (SAM). Despite complaints by the human rights activist, the administration has failed to have him treated free of charge. In addition no government programmes guaranteeing food and health security has so far reached Ibran's family. Ghazipur District in particular has the highest numbers of severely malnourished children in Uttar Pradesh.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) regrets to inform you that Ms. Bhuje died on New Year's Eve after struggling against sickness and hunger since April 2009. She leaves behind seven children. Before Bhuje's death, her husband died of Tuberculosis in January 2009. Facing lack of food and lack of a sustainable livelihood, all the children are deprived of their rights. Only after the intervention by the Right to Food Group and the media in October 2009, did the relevant authority provide temporary support. Furthermore, Bhuje was denied the government support that she was entitled to and even humiliated by government officials including the District Collector. Five of the children are currently working as child labourers instead of going to school.
[Hunger General] INDIA: Corruption and neglect excludes the poor and migrants Below the Poverty Line (BPL) families
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is writing to draw your attention to the corruption that is excluding the poor from Below the Poverty Line (BPL) family list. BPL families are expected to receive benefits from government programmes guaranteeing the right to food. The human rights organization, SPREAD based in Koraput District, Orissa recently conducted fact-finding research which disclosed that many poor families are not in the BPL list and some relevant data has been manipulated. Despite the corruption discovered in BPL validation, the governments involved do not have substantial mechanisms to root it out. This is one of the causes of failure in alleviating poverty as well as ensuring food security. The Orissa government intends to conduct a BPL survey from November 2009.
[Hunger Alert] INDONESIA: 113 villagers’ hunger deaths caused by government neglect as well as harvest failure in Yahukimo, Papua
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from human rights groups working in Yahukimo that since January 2009 till now approximately 113 villagers in Yahukimo, Papua, died of hunger associated with diseases. The harvest failure this year caused by climate change resulted in deaths which aggravated lack of food in the villages. It affected seven districts including Suntamon, Langda, Bomela, Seradala, Walma, Pronggoli and Heryakpini and 26 sub-districts. The affected areas had already suffered the deaths of 55 villagers from starvation due to harvest failure in 2005. The government however failed to improve agricultural facilities in order to ensure food security since then.
[Hunger Alert] INDIA: Villagers die of hunger due to corruption in public food distribution and lack of livelihood in Bihar
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received the information regarding the deaths of five villagers of hunger from the Hunger Free Bihar Campaign, a human rights group working on right to food in Bihar. According to the report, three of the deceased villagers had not received benefits from the public services to ensure food security and livelihood which they were entitled to. It has been disclosed that the public services failed to take action to prevent the deaths and ensure the food security due to corruption and the neglect of the relevant public officials. Jehanabad and Nalanda districts where the deceased resided are the two areas out of 26 districts officially declared as drought-hit areas by Bihar government.
UPDATE (India): The government's announcement that it will issue ration cards in Khandwa district must be implemented
Sixty-two children have reportedly died from malnutrition induced ailments in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh since last year. The children died due to various sicknesses associated with malnutrition. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) had reported the deaths of forty-three children. The AHRC had also reported that the condition of food security of the children had not improved, in spite of the death of the children. For further information please see; AHRC-HAC-002-2009 and AHRC-HAU-003-2009.
Sumantra is a twenty-two months-old girl merely weighing 5.5 kilograms. She is identified as Sever Acute Malnutrition according to the Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) indicating 94 millimeters (mm).
Chhotu (four years old) and Sagar (six months old) died in August and September 2008, respectively. Chhotu had diarrhoea and weight loss, while Sagar had a respiratory infection but both suffering from malnutrition before they died. Their father Mr. Suraj lives in Mohalkhari village, Khalwa Block, Khandwa district has two acres of non-irrigated farmland which is not enough to provide his children with sufficient life-sustaining food to eat.
UPDATE (India): Call for more attention on handloom weaver community where five children died of malnutrition in Varanasi
We had warned that thirteen children were suffering from acute malnutrition and had asked the relevant government authorities in Varanasi district as well as Uttar Pradesh to take action. Soon after that report, a two-year-old boy Shahabuddin out of thirteen children at risk died of malnutrition (AHRC-HAC-008-2008 and AHRC-HAU-001-2008).
Mr. Keshaw Ram (age 28) died on 12 February 2009 during a hunger strike held in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh state (UP). He lived with his mother, his wife and two children in Shivpuri village, Pahala Block in Sitapur district of UP.
The villagers in Kamuhkaan village, Aplaya, Hagonoy municipality, Davao Del Sur province, Mindanao suffer from hunger and lack of food because of flooding which lasted two weeks this time. Due to the flood, the water and soil is contaminated by pesticides coming from a banana plantation nearby. This further aggravates the poor health of the villagers as well as further polluting the environment of the community.
UPDATE (India): Call for more attention for hand-loom weavers suffering from hunger and Tuberculosis in Varanasi
The AHRC has been reporting the extreme poverty and TB which are endemic with handloom weavers living in Lohta of Varanasi District since 2007.
Mr. Faustino Balasa (age 67) living in Purok 6, Sinayawan village, Hagonoy Municipality, Davao Del Sur had to borrow PHP 300 (USD 6.3) to purchase food for his family. When he cannot buy any food, he gets some bananas from neighbours to feed his family and prepare soup for his youngest daughter, Lolita who is handicapped by birth [photo 1: Faustino's youngest daughter lying down in a hut all day long].
[Hunger Alert] GENERAL (Philippines): Soldiers burn houses, blocks food supply for over 34,000 displaced families in Maguindanao
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is writing to draw your attention to the continuing food blockade the military has imposed in Maguindanao thereby depriving over 34,000 families of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of their food rations. The military are deliberately preventing food and relief goods that relief organizations are trying to deliver by holding them at check points.
[Hunger Alert] UPDATE (Phlippines): Soldiers threaten civilian lives by blocking food aid, burning houses in Maguindanao
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) wishes to inform you that the Army's Sixth Infantry Division has intercepted food aid for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Maguindanao province. The reason the army has given intercepting the food is their claim of a bomb attack on the bridge connected to Datu Piang town on May 28. In addition, the army has also burned houses which they claim are being used by the rebels.
[Hunger Alert] UPDATE (India): Home-based treatment for the malnourished children living in remote rural area needs to be encouraged
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information regarding two malnourished children from a human rights group based in Madhya Pradesh, Spandan Samaj Seva Samiti (Spandan). One was taken to the district hospital to get treatment while another was not. As the family live in remote rural village, they find it difficult to take the child to the district hospital which is 100 kilometres away from the village. In addition, to this if the mother takes the child to the hospital and remains with the child there is no one who can take care of the other children and do the housework in her place. The AHRC recommends that the government provide special medical care to malnourished children, not only by the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre but also by strengthening existing facilities and services in the villages.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) wishes to forward an appeal from Asian Center for the Progress of Peoples (ACPP) regarding the situation of landless tribes in Kerala state. In spite of promises made by the state government in the past regarding resettlement, the members of the tribal communities are denied land by the state government. The AHRC wishes to forward this appeal for action issued by the ACPP, calling upon the state government to keep its promise.
[Hunger Alert] INDIA: Three children died of malnutrition for past two months and four children are currently suffering from malnutrition in Dabhiya village of Madhya Pradesh where children had died of malnutrition in 2008
NDIA: Three children died of malnutrition for past two months and four children are currently suffering from malnutrition in Dabhiya village of Madhya Pradesh where children had died of malnutrition in 2008
[Hunger Alert] INDIA: Another child died of malnutrition while fifty one children malnourished in Saledhana village, Madhya Pradesh
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) regrets to inform you that a child died of malnutrition associated with fever, diarrhoea and breathing difficulty on June 17, 2009. The human rights group, Samaj Seva Samiti (Spandan) based in Madhya Pradesh visiting the village on July 20 discovered that 70 percent of 72 children registered at Anganwadi Centre (Child Care Centre) are currently malnourished. However, the relevant government authorities fail to pay attention to these malnourished tribal children who may develop worsening health conditions causing premature death.