|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
JANUARY 23, 2004
Patti Lynn/Infact in Mumbai: +44.7753.876963
David Lerner/Riptide Communications in New York: 01.212.260.5000
Public Interest Organizations Urge Indian Government to Ratify Global Tobacco Treaty
NEW DELHI, India - January 23 - Representatives of a leading network of organizations advocating for the swift implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) have come to Delhi to urge India to ratify the treaty. Eighty-five governments have signed the treaty, which enters into force and becomes international law after 40 countries sign and ratify it. Last month Indias Cabinet approved ratification of the FCTC. The Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals (NATT) noted Indias leadership throughout the FCTC negotiating process, and are calling on Indian officials to complete the FCTC ratification process quickly. The FCTC, the worlds first public health and corporate accountability treaty, will save millions of lives and change the way the tobacco industry operates globally. |
The adoption of the FCTC last year was a major victory for people over profits of giant tobacco corporations. Now the hard work of moving countries to implement the treaty has begun. With the leadership on this issue based in the Global South, it is vital that countries such as India move quickly to ratify the FCTC, says Bejon Misra of ConsumerVOICE (India), a NATT member.
Initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO), the FCTC bans tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (such as Philip Morris/Altrias Marlboro Man) and protects public health policy from tobacco industry interference. NATT has launched a campaign for the FCTCs swift implementation, and is monitoring closely for attempts to derail the treaty. India played a lead role in the push for a strong FCTC throughout the negotiations, even as wealthy countries like the US sought to undermine the process. There has been much recent attention to Indias strengthening ties with the Bush Administration. We are urging the Indian government to resist US cowboy diplomacy on the FCTC, and to ratify this groundbreaking treaty right away, says Patti Lynn of Infact, a US-based corporate accountability organization and NATT member.
ConsumerVOICE, Infact and Environmental Rights Action (Nigeria) reached tens of thousands of people with information on the FCTC at the World Social Forum in Mumbai over the past week through workshops, media activism, and the screening of an award-winning film. As a result, dozens more organizations will be campaigning for FCTC ratification in their own countries.
Throughout the FCTC negotiations, NATT members encouraged, prodded and pressured countries to stand firm in the face of Big Tobaccos enormous political and economic clout. With International Weeks of Resistance to Tobacco Transnationals, Marlboro Man Awards, and the release of a number of reports, NATT has played a key role in exposing and challenging the attempts of transnational tobacco corporations and their political allies in wealthy countries to derail the FCTC. In the push toward ratification, NATT will continue to watchdog the tobacco industrys interference in the process.
With giant corporations like Philip Morris/Altria, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International driving an epidemic that claims nearly five million lives a year, Big Tobaccos expansion is one of the most pressing health and corporate accountability issues of our time. We have a tool to rein in this deadly industry. We need countries committed to public health to take the lead in this critical phase, says Akinbode Oluwafemi of Environmental Rights Action (Nigeria), a NATT member.