The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is the world’s first public health treaty. It was negotiated as the world’s response to the global tobacco epidemic. The FCTC was completed in 2003, and has now been joined by 180 countries and the European Community.
When writing the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the framers looked to human rights accords for inspiration, examples and substantive legal thinking. This connection to human rights is evident in the FCTC itself, and in many decision taken by the FCTC Conference of Parties (COP).
The links below include references to human rights in both the FCTC and COP decisions.
The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)
2003- Recalls Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which includes the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Also recalls the preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Parties to that Convention shall take appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care, Recalling further that the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the United Nations
General Assembly on 20 November 1989, provides that States Parties to that Convention recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health. Read more…
Article 8 Guidelines
“…The duty to protect from tobacco smoke, embodied in the text of Article 8, is
grounded in fundamental human rights and freedoms.” Read more…
The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Conference of the Parties (COP)
The Conference of the Parties (COP) is a week-long event for global tobacco control advocates, government representatives, and UN agencies to meet at the Hague in the Netherlands to participate in the biannual negotiation for the global tobacco treaty, the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). For more information about the COP, please view ASH’s week of webinars, which took place in lieu of COP 2020.
Below is a list of COP decisions that reference human rights.
FCTC/COP7(19) Relationship of the Convention Secretariat with other international entities: observer status
2016 – asks the Convention Secretariat to communicate with various bodies about becoming official observers, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Read more…
FCTC/COP7(21) Trade and investment issues, including agreements, and legal challenges in relation to the implementation of the WHO FCTC
2016 – Reaffirming the right of everyone to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. Read more…
FCTC/COP7(26) International cooperation for implementation of the WHO FCTC, including on human rights
2016 – Encourages Parties to link the human rights framework to the global tobacco epidemic; invites the Convention Secretariat to collaborate with existing United Nations mechanisms and processes working on issues of business and human rights, chapeau includes references to human rights, right to health Read more…
FCTC/COP7(29) Delhi Declaration
2016 – References article 25 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the preamble of the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO)- highest attainable standard of health. REAFFIRMS that the effective implementation of the WHO FCTC facilitates the realization of this right. Read more…
FCTC/COP6(11) Economically sustainable alternatives to tobacco growing (in relation to Articles 17 and 18 of the WHO FCTC)
2014 – Discussion of tobacco labor and child labor as a human rights issue Read more…
FCTC/COP5(1) Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products
2012 – Recalls the Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization, which states that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition Read more…
FCTC/COP4(7) Guidelines for implementation of Article 12 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
2012 – Discusses how human rights interact with Article 12 of the FCTC including how the duty to educate reflects fundamental human rights and freedoms. These include, but are not limited to the right to life, the right to the highest attainable standard of health and the right to education. Read more…
No relevant decisions.
FCTC/COP2(7) Adoption of the guidelines for implementation of Article 8 (Protection from exposure to tobacco smoke)
The duty to protect from tobacco smoke is grounded in fundamental human rights and freedoms including the right to life and the right to the highest attainable standard of health, as recognized in many international legal instruments (including the Constitution of the World Health Organization, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), as formally incorporated into the preamble of the WHO Framework Convention and as recognized in the constitutions of many nations. The duty to protect individuals from tobacco smoke corresponds to an obligation by governments to enact legislation to protect individuals against threats to their fundamental rights and freedoms. This obligation extends to all persons, and not merely to certain populations. Read more…