• May 23, 2024

Pressure to ratify FCTC

 Pressure to ratify FCTC

One hundred-and-six organizations, led by Oxy-Suisse and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH US), yesterday sent a letter to the President of the Swiss Confederation calling on Switzerland to ratify the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and to change radically its relationship with tobacco companies.
In a note alerting the media to the letter, ASH US said Swiss citizens were being poisoned and killed, and the government was failing to act.
The note said the request to ratify the WHO treaty was being made during the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP8) to the FCTC, at which delegations from 137 countries, along with representatives of United Nations agencies, other intergovernmental organizations and civil society were coming together to discuss the progress being made in tobacco control around the world.
‘This important bi-annual discussion is currently in session in Geneva, which is ironic, because Switzerland is not party to the treaty,’ the note said.
‘Switzerland’s domestic tobacco control efforts lag behind as well. The new draft tobacco product law (LPTab) in Switzerland has a goal of maintaining smoking rates in Switzerland at the current level at least until 2060, a goal which translates into deliberately preserving at current levels the associated mortality of 9,500 tobacco-related deaths per year and morbidity of over 300,000 persons seriously ill because of tobacco.
‘The Swiss government is failing its human rights and Constitutional obligations to protect the right to health and right to life of its citizens.
‘The Swiss government and the Swiss people are being held hostage by an industry that takes advantage of the system’s vulnerabilities. Which, of course, is exactly what the tobacco industry intended when they came to Switzerland in the first place – they knew that they could exploit Switzerland’s vulnerabilities to sell their deadly products and establish Switzerland as their global sanctuary.’
Switzerland’s lack of tobacco control was said to be violating the human rights not only of Swiss people but of those around the world.
‘Three major tobacco companies, Japan Tobacco International (JTI), British American Tobacco (BAT), and Philip Morris International (PMI) have large factories in Switzerland, while two of them, JTI and PMI, have their global headquarters in the country,’ the note said. ‘Executives in those offices make decisions regarding their deadly products which are marketed and sold all over the world.
‘Switzerland’s relationship with tobacco also negatively impacts its ability to become a global development agency, as tobacco is an unquestionable enemy of development.’
The 106 organizations are calling also for Switzerland to sign up to the FCTC and the new Illicit Trade Protocol, to enact tobacco control legislation compliant with WHO FCTC obligations, and to model its relationship with tobacco companies on the guidelines of the FCTC.