June 2022 – ASH staff had the opportunity to participate in the United Nations Human Rights Council 50th session, in Geneva, Switzerland. The Human Rights Council is an “inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and making recommendations on them. It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year.”
One of the thematic issues discussed by the HRC is the right to health, and it is part of ASH’s mission to ensure tobacco is included in the discussion of the right to health at the highest levels.
ASH participated in the Human Rights Council by submitting both a written statement (in advance of the session) and an oral statement (during the session) in which we highlight how tobacco is a human rights issue. Both will be part of the formal record and help lay the groundwork for more discussions and recommendations on strengthening tobacco control regulations as a way to protect everyone’s right to health.
Perhaps our most important participation is that, by simply being present, we were able to meet face to face with delegates from all over the world, build strong global connections, and draw their attention to tobacco as a human rights issue.
While we were in Switzerland, we also took the opportunity to have several meetings with the many international organizations that call Geneva home, including the World Health Organization, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Secretariat, and many others. It was a very productive (and busy) time, and an opportunity that ASH intends to continue utilizing in years to come.