21 Nov 2010
Declaration at treaty meeting affirms priority of public health over trade
PUNTA DEL ESTE, URUGUAY – As the host country for this week’s tobacco control treaty meetings braces for a legal challenge from Philip Morris International (PMI) to its graphic cigarette warning labels, 172 Parties are uniting behind Uruguay in a declaration adopted this morning.
The declaration reaffirms the right of Parties to the treaty, “to give priority to their right to public health” over trade, given the “devastating worldwide health, social, economic, and environmental consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.”
“Today, while one deadly corporation disputes the priority of public health over its profits, the global community has begged to differ – taking a unified stand against industry interference and intimidation,” said Gigi Kellett of Corporate Accountability International.
The declaration, proposed by Uruguay, can immediately assist the country in its case with PMI, not to mention the countless Parties facing similar legal intimidation, industry interference in health policy, and manipulation of the treaty process.
• reaffirms that health is a fundamental right of every human being;
• affirms the sovereign right of all Parties to protect health policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry;
• declares Parties’ concern regarding the tobacco industry’s current and ongoing efforts to “subvert and undermine government policies on tobacco control;”
• declares the need to exchange information nationally and internationally regarding the tobacco industry’s efforts to interfere in the implementation of the treaty;
The full language of the declaration is available at http://apps.who.int/gb/fctc/E/E_cop4.htm.
“Uruguay is not alone in its struggle and the legal challenge that spurred this declaration is not the only reason for its being proposed,” said Yul Francisco Dorado, Latin America Director for Corporate Accountability International. “Just this week, the industry has used front groups to bully delegates and mislead the media. It has sent dozens of representatives to walk the halls of a treaty meeting it is prohibited from participating in. And that’s just what is in plain view. This declaration says enough is enough, we cannot get down to the business of saving lives unless Big Tobacco is directly challenged.”
Corporate Accountability International, formerly Infact, is a membership organization that protects people by waging and winning campaigns challenging irresponsible and dangerous corporate actions around the world. For 30 years, the organization has compelled corporations—like Nestlé, General Electric and Philip Morris/Altria—to halt a range of abuses. Corporate Accountability is an NGO in Official Relations with the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals (NATT) includes more than 100 NGOs from more than 50 countries working for a strong, enforceable Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
AT COP-4 IN PUNTA DEL ESTE, Tel: +598-99705263; from Uruguay – 099705263
Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) for Tobacco Control
1 Nicholas St, Suite 104
Ottawa, ON, K1N 7B7, CANADA