September 2022 – This year, many people and organizations have focused their energy on social justice, and ASH is no exception.
As you may know, this summer, ASH led 120 organizations in submitting a report to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The United States was up for review by this committee this year (which happens approximately once every 5 years). We took the opportunity to draw the committee’s attention to the social injustice and health inequities caused by the predatory marketing of menthol cigarettes to African Americans.
In addition to the US review, as a part of the 3-week CERD session, the committee held a meeting to begin work on what they are referring to as “General recommendation 37.” The goal is for the committee to develop a General Recommendation that will provide an authoritative interpretation of the CERD Article that addresses the right to health and that will help countries implement measures at the national level to protect the right to health in the context of racial discrimination.
ASH submitted written input to the meeting and attended in person; our goal was to ensure that tobacco was discussed in the recommendation. We are off to a good start- the World Health Organization spoke and highlighted the importance of protecting racial and ethnic minorities from the harm caused by tobacco.
This process is just getting started, and it could take up to 2 years before the General Recommendation is finalized.
Our progress at CERD is slow, but important.
One of the members of the U.S. delegation quoted President Biden, stating “Advancing equity is not a one-year project, it is a generational commitment that will require sustained leadership in partnership with all communities.” That is true at the local, national, and international level.
The tobacco control community needs to continue to sustain our leadership in this area until the fight is over! Thank you for your support to make this work possible.