Philip Morris International (PMI) is the biggest multinational cigarette company, thus its deadly impact is very high. The company has in its history always chosen profits over public health and human rights, many times violating national laws and international treaties.
The Danish Institute for Human Rights’ attempt to intervene hampers tobacco control and human rights in the supply chain. It weakens the work of tobacco control and human rights organisations as well as policymakers. Even if the final report criticizes PMI, they will likely cite it out of context to appear favorable.
Several UN agencies have policies to prevent tobacco industry interference or have taken steps to dissociate themselves from the tobacco industry. This includes the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), WHO, UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Organization for Education Science and Culture (UNESCO), the World Bank, the UN Environment Programme, and the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of NCDs (UNIATF). The Guiding Principle Number 1 from FCTC Article 5.3 guidelines reads: There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests.
The FCTC guidelines apply to any national, state, provincial, municipal, local or other public or semi/quasi-public institution. The Danish Institute for Human Rights’ is a state-funded institution, and therefore their collaboration with PMI is a violation of the FCTC, a treaty that is a core part of Sustainable Development Goal No. 3.
We urge the Danish Institute for Human Rights to:
- denounce their collaboration with PMI at the earliest possible date,
- publish a statement as regards the irreconcilability of human rights and the tobacco industry and
- adopt a policy on tobacco industry interference consistent with the WHO FCTC.
The Danish Institute for Human Rights’ important work should not be discredited by collaborating with the tobacco industry.