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Regional Mechanisms

In addition to global mechanisms and international human rights treaty bodies, there are several regional bodies. They are responsible for the human rights in their respective regions, and therefore, can be very useful for advocates living and working in those regions.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is an organ of the Organization of American states with a mission to promote the observance and protection of human rights in the Americas.

ASH at the IACHR

In April 2016, Action on Smoking and Health and two of our partner organizations, Fundación InterAmericana del Corazón Argentina and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law presented to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on the Right to Health, Tobacco Industry Interference, and on Tobacco in the Americas.

This was the first time that tobacco was brought up as a human rights issue before this commission. For more information about the IACHR and this hearing, click here.

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR)

The African Charter created the African Commission with three major functions in mind:

European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)

The European system of human rights includes both a judicial organ (the European Court of Human Rights) and a quasi-judicial European Committee of Social Rights, both created under the auspices of the Council of Europe.

European Region: Submissions and Letters on Tobacco and Human Rights

Letter from the European Ombudsman to the European Commission on upcoming revision of tobacco related legislation

In 2021, the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, wrote a letter to the European Commission on an upcoming revision of tobacco related legislation. This letter is a great example of using a human rights mechanism, in this case at the European Union level, to address tobacco industry interference. O’Reilly references the European Commission’s obligations under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to call for increased transparency in the Commission’s dealings with the tobacco industry.

ASH and Partner Submission: Mandatory Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence

In February 2021, ASH and a group of our tobacco control colleagues, including Smoke Free Partnership and Unfairtobacco, led by the Belgian Alliance for a Smoke Free Society, submitted input for the public consultation by the European Commission on mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence. Read the submission.

WHO Europe: Reports on Tobacco and Human Rights

European Tobacco Use: Trends Report 2019

In 2019, the Chapter 5 gives an overview of the WHO Regional Office for Europe released the following “European Tobacco use: Trends Report 2019.” Chapter 5 of this report provides an overview of links between tobacco control and human rights and also explains the human rights reporting cycle. Starting on pg. 50.

Tobacco Free Generations: Protecting children from tobacco in the WHO European Region

In 2017, the WHO Regional Office for Europe released the following report on protecting children from tobacco in the area. A key message of this report was that “Most children in the Region are inadequately protected from second-hand smoke exposure, despite their heightened vulnerability to its effects. Smoking initiation is another important problem that is limited almost exclusively to children and young people, a vast proportion of whom will go on to become daily, addicted smokers in adulthood. This in turn results in enormous public health and socioeconomic burdens in the Region.”

Social justice and human rights as a framework for addressing social determinants of health: Final report of the Task group on Equity, Equality and Human Rights

This 2016 WHO report addresses two issues relevant for closing this gap in translating rhetoric into actual policies: why health inequalities are unjust and how normative arguments can be translated into policy, particularly by using the framework of the human right to health.