PBI-Guatemala accompanies Nuevo Dia talk on a landmark court ruling on the right to food

Published by Brent Patterson on

On November 22, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project posted, “Yesterday we accompanied Nuevo Dia in Chiquimula for the presentation of the report on compliance with Camotán’s sentences ‘Without horizons of human development’. The act claimed the right to food as a fundamental human right.”

In July 2013, a judge declared the Guatemalan state responsible for a breach of economic, social and cultural rights by failing to ensure the right to food of five undernourished children from four families living in the villages of Camotán, Guatemala.

The court ordered the state to implement specific measures to ensure the enjoyment of their rights, especially the right to adequate food.

In March 2014, Vice reported, “Six-year-old Bryan couldn’t tell you who the president of Guatemala is, but three years ago he took his government to court and won.”

“Alongside four other emaciated children, Bryan was part of a lawsuit that Nuevo Día, a local NGO, launched against the Guatemalan state in 2011 for failing to protect its kids against malnutrition. The judge found the government guilty in a landmark ruling in Latin America, but that doesn’t mean the president’s party cares.”

“With the aim of producing long-term change, the judge ordered various ministries to create food and employment programs to stop Mayra [a four-year-old child who was also part of the lawsuit] and Bryan’s conditions from continuing as the norm.”

“Both the families and the surrounding communities were ecstatic. Nothing much has happened, however. The only major change is that each of the children now receives an extra bag of rice or packet of beans.”

In relation to the presentation on November 21 accompanied by PBI-Guatemala, Nuevo Dia posted, “Four sentences in favour of the restoration of the human right to food, were appealed by the State of Guatemala… The State, despite the efforts of its operators, does not comply with the actions dictated in the sentences.”

The Borgen Project has noted Guatemala “has the highest prevalence of chronic malnutrition in Latin America and the fourth highest in the world.”

“In rural and indigenous areas, 55 to 69 percent of people are facing malnutrition, and in the highlands, 70 percent of children are suffering from starvation.”

The World Food Programme adds, “Guatemala is one of the most unequal countries in Latin America. While two thirds of the overall population live on less than US$ 2 per day, poverty affects indigenous people disproportionately: 80 percent of them experience deprivation in multiple aspects of their lives, including food security, nutrition, health and education.”

The WFP also highlights, “Guatemala is among the 10 countries that are most vulnerable to natural disasters and the effects of climate change. Over the past three years, extended dry seasons have had a severe impact on the livelihoods of subsistence farmers, who rely on rain-fed agriculture, especially in the Dry Corridor.”

Nuevo Dia is an Indigenous Maya Ch’orti’ campesino/peasant farmer organization. PBI-Guatemala Project has accompanied Nuevo Dia since 2009.

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