Kampala, November 10, 2016
Tobacco control advocates in Uganda have condemned the tactics by the Tobacco Industry to interfere with the 7th Conference of Parties, that is under way in India this week, 7-12, November, 2016. The Advocates under their umbrella of the Tobacco Control Coordination Mechanism/ Forum expressed concern that the tobacco industry in Uganda was lobbying government officials to use them to attend the ongoing COP 7 meeting so as to represent the interests of the tobacco industry.
In a joint press statement, the advocates stated that;
‘ We strongly condemn efforts by some government officials to connive with the tobacco industry to interfere with tobacco control polices even at the global level. ‘
The criticism followed media reports that the tobacco industry had lobbied some government officials to nominate delegates who would represent the Industry interest at the 7th session of the Conference of Parties. These delegates, including Members of Parliament, were nominated and travelled to India to attend the COP 7. However according to follow up media reports, these delegates that were not approved by the Ministry of Health were blocked from attending the conference, on orders of the officials from the Ministry of Health, as guided by Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control ( FCTC), section 4.9 which stipulates that;
‘ Parties should not nominate any person by the tobacco industry or any entity working to further its interests to serve on delegations to meetings of the Conference of Parties, its subsidiary bodies or any other bodies established pursuant to decisions of the Conference of Parties’ .
Accordingly, the TC advocates, in a strong show of solidarity with the Ministry of Health, have called on all government officials to abide by the tobacco control act , 2015 and desist from getting involved in tobacco industry efforts aimed at derailing public health policies.