Utilizing Human Rights Norms to Advance Tobacco Control: Translating Discourse into Praxis
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Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control, Thailand
CommonHealth, Philippines
Publication date: 2019-03-26
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2019;5(Supplement):A17
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Several literatures have discussed how human rights (HR) and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) reinforce each other, propounded the use of HR-based approaches and tools to advance tobacco control (TC), and suggested the need for governments to safeguard public health based on legally-binding HR norms.

The authors compared case studies on HR/TC with highly publicized HR concerns (e.g., women, children, environment, killings), and examined patterns driving civil society organizations (CSOs) to succeed in using HR mechanisms in order to guide TC advocates to translate the HR/TC discourse into praxis.

The paper lists countries with strong HR bodies and active CSOs where the potential of TC to tap HR mechanisms have yet to be fully tapped. Currently, HR discussions in health are focused on health rights (e.g., access to healthcare). People’s right to be protected from tobacco harms is invariably ignored in HR reporting. Even shadow reports hardly make a case for HR/TC. Policy reform as a result of HR reporting vary on a case to case/ country basis but the potential for raising awareness among non-health sector is increased for matters included in such reports.

There are “low-hanging fruits” in certain countries where HR infrastructure is robust and where plugging in TC is an efficient way to raise the profile of FCTC/TC and to encourage TC policy reforms. TC advocates need to engage HR groups and join the discourse on the link between HR and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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