There are nine core international human rights treaties. Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, all UN Member States have ratified at least one core international human rights treaty, and 80 percent have ratified four or more. Each treaty has a committee which monitors implementation of the treaty. Many of these treaties pertain to tobacco control.

International Human Rights Treaties

  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

    1979 – CEDAW and tobacco are interconnected in many ways including smoking rates amongst women and girls, advertising directed at women and girls, tobacco labor issues, smoking’s impact on maternal and child health, and more. The human rights body for CEDAW is called the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (also CEDAW). Read the treaty…

  • Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

    Tobacco impacts children’s rights in many ways including advertising directed at children, second hand smoke, tobacco labor issues, environmental issues, and more. Read the treaty…

  • International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

    1976-The ICESCR emshrines “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,” an essential argument in why advocates should use a human rights based approach to tobacco control. Read the treaty…

  • Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

    Tobacco poses special challenges to the health and human rights of people of racial minorities. In the United States, this is through menthol cigarettes and targeted advertising, but the challenges vary around the world.

    Read the treaty…

    Read ASH’s submission to the Office of the High Commisioner, Anti-Racial Discrimination Section

  • Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

    Current cigarette smoking is significantly higher among adults with a disability compared to adults without a disability. This can and should be addressed in a human rights based approach to tobacco control. Read the treaty…

  • Treaty Bodies Sessions Calendar

General Comments

A general comment is a statement made by the Comittee (such as the Committee on the Rights of the Child) which interprets or clarifies the rights set out in the treaty in question, and may outline potential violations of those rights and/or offer advice to states parties on how best to comply with their obligations contained in the respective treaty.
  • 2013 – CRC General comment No. 15 (2013) on the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health (art. 24)*

  • CESCR General Comment No. 14: The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health (Art. 12)

ASH and partner reports

ASH and our partners have followed the lead of the Human Rights and Tobacco Control Network and have submitted country reports to treaty bodies, as countries are called for reporting. In many cases, we have worked with our allies in country to ensure that we are getting the most accurate information possible and also to encourage local organizations to take the lead on human rights advocacy. The goal of these reports if to encourage the treaty committee to ask the country about their progress in implementing tobacco control policies and to encourage/ require the country to follow tobacco control best practices.

To learn more about how to submit these reports, please visit our Learning Resources page, specifically our Tobacco and Human Rights Reference Guide and our Universal Periodic Review Engagement Memo.

If you are interested in partnering with ASH on a report for your country, please contact Kelsey Romeo-Stuppy at

Highlighted Reports
  • Argentina- CEDAW

    A shadow report for Argentina submitted to the Convention on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women by our colleagues at  Fundación Interamericana del Corazon- Argentina (FIC – Argentina), the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law (the “O’Neill Institute”), the Foundation for Women’s Study and Research (FEIM), the Foundation for the Development of Sustainable Policy (FUNDEPS) and the Tobacco Smoke-Free Alliance- Argentina (ALIAR)- See the report 

  • Japan CEDAW

    Our most recent CEDAW report (February 2020) and a good template for others considering a report. Japan CEDAW Parallel Report

Concluding Observations

A victory for our repots is when a committee mentions tobacco in the concluding observations of that treaty session. These are examples of cases in which that has occured.