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Essential Action:Indian Activist Stage Sit-In at White House

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 31, 2007
7:28 AM

CONTACT: Essential Action 
Ms. Anna White, Essential Action
Email: awhite@essential.org, awhite@essentialinformation.org
Tel: (+1) 202-387-8030 (work), 202-413-9656 (cell)
Hemant Goswami
Lafayette Park; Directly across from White House (On May 31, 2007)
E-Mail: goswami@hemant.org
Tel: +91-9988363044

 
Indian Activist Stage Sit-In at White House
Protests U.S. Failure to Ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
 

WASHINGTON - MAY 31 - To draw the attention of the world to the failure of the US government to ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and to highlight the double standards of the US government with regard to tobacco, Hemant Goswami, a social activist and chairperson of the India based NGO Burning Brain Society conducted a day long hunger fast and sit-in outside the White House in Washington DC today.

To date, 147 countries have ratified the FCTC, thereby making it legally binding on them to regulate the tobacco industry. U.S. signed the treaty, but probably under the influence of the tobacco industry, the Bush Administration has thus far refused to send it to the U.S. Senate for ratification, as required by the U.S. Constitution.

In recognition that children have a right to live in a healthy world and that U.S. policies pertaining to tobacco have a worldwide impact, Goswami also called on the U.S. to end tobacco industry political donations, prohibit people with tobacco industry ties from participating in public health and economic policy formulation, and exclude tobacco from international trade treaties.

Mr. Hemant said, “It’s an irony of the civilized world, that sheer greed and political patronage has allowed unabated commercial trade of a deadly product like tobacco. For petty individual commercial gains, shortsighted politicians have shirked their responsibility of ensuring common welfare and protecting the people from one of the largest preventable cause of death, disease and disability in the world. By not acting against tobacco, these politician-traders are trading the health and lives of our children for fistful of money.”

Tobacco products currently kill 5 million people worldwide annually, a death toll that the World Health Organization projects will double to 10 million annually. 70 percent of these deaths shall take place in low-income countries by 2025.

The open petition to President Bush further mentions that “The policies of the United States impact all nations worldwide. When the United States chooses to protect the health of the tobacco industry over that of people, at home and abroad, it is in violation against the most basic principles of humanity and is detrimental to global public health objectives. Economic wellbeing should enhance public welfare, not rob people of it.”

“It is an accident that tobacco became a legal product; but in the light of the current scientific evidence we must rectify this mistake,” Hemant emphasized.

WEB RESOURCES:

Burning Brain Society: www.burningbrain.org

World No Tobacco Day: www.who.int/tobacco/communications/events/wntd/2007/en/

Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: www.fctc.org

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