26 Jul 2011
The site’s creator is Dr Marty Otañez, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado in the United States. Announcing the website, he said there is no such thing as “fair trade tobacco”, as tobacco farming is associated with health, environmental and human rights violations.
“My goal is to draw attention to tobacco as a human rights issue and to corporate malfeasance in the global tobacco-farming sector,” Dr Otañez said.
“The purpose of this initiative is to document the direct links between tobacco companies’ exploitative farm-level practices and livelihoods of farmers and farm workers,” he added.
|In Malawi’s largest tobacco market place (during 2000) shoeless workers run with leaf to holding areas during auction. © Marty Otañez|
According to Dr Otañez, the project also aims to help reduce an imbalance in global tobacco control, where funds and activities are primarily focused on consumption/demand issues, particularly in affluent countries.
As a result, he is calling on the World health Organization to focus its next World No Tobacco Day (31 May 2012) on tobacco agriculture and industry practices that undermine human rights.
Dr Otañez says new visual material will be uploaded to the site monthly.