A state-level court in Colombia’s most northern state has rejected a request for the guarantee of children’s life and health in the parts of the state where indigenous communities are experiencing famine, local news reported Wednesday.
The director of Public Planning of Guajira, Cesar Arismendy, submitted a request to the La Guajira state government in March demanding the guarantee of children’s life and health in the famine area.
The court issued a ruling rejecting this petition, arguing that while human rights are being violated “in some cases”, it is not a state-wide problem, and therefore does not meet the requirements for court intervention, reported El Heraldo on Tuesday.
The majority of the children dying of malnutrition are indigenous, local Wayuu leader Maria Pana told Colombia Reports.
Judge Anatulia Lamboglia Rodriguez defended the ruling, saying that public and private institutions have been acting in a coordinated manner with resources already provided to gradually tackle these problems.
This same argument, reported El Heraldo, is responsible for the deaths of 2,969 children in the last five years; 278 from starvation, and 2,691 from other largely preventable diseases.
Arismendy told El Heraldo that the high rate of child mortality due to starvation is not exclusively caused by food shortage. He said there are other factors such as lack of water, restricted access to health care, a lack of clear policies to curb the problems and the extreme poverty in which allegedly 99.3% of indigenous live.
However, Arismandy said that his numbers are conservative: “There are some children who are starving and the death certificate says ‘diarrhea.’ If statistics were more detailed, the figures would cause much more impact because children who are buried according to indigenous customs are not reported,” he said.
- Niegan tutela que pretendía evitar muerte de niños por hambre en La Guajira (Caracol Radio)
- Niegan tutela por niños muertos en La Guajira (El Heraldo)
- Colombia Reports Interview with Maria Pana