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Tobacco & Human Rights in Latin America

An article written by ASH Staff Attorney Kelsey Romeo-Stuppy was recently published in the American Bar Association’s “International Law News.” The article discusses the growing problem of tobacco use in Latin American countries. journal 1

There are 145 million current smokers in Latin America, more than half of whom will die from smoking related causes. Many of the countries in Latin America have signed the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which implements best practices to effectively reduce tobacco use. Yet, many of these countries are failing to live up to the obligations of this treaty.

In failing to protect their citizens from the harms of tobacco, countries are violating international human rights laws.

A suit could be filed within the Inter-American system on the basis of human rights violations, as a more concrete step to stop this epidemic. A suit filed in the Inter-American court, a regional human rights court, could be based on the violation of the right to health and could include violations of other rights such as the right to life, women’s rights and child rights. There are other options as well: an argument could be made that tobacco control laws do not provide equal protection for particularly vulnerable groups (for example, children).

A case in the Inter-American system would draw worldwide attention to tobacco as a human rights issue and could have a huge impact on the fight against tobacco in Latin America and around the world.

To read the entire article in ABA’s “International Law News”, click here>.

To read more about ASH’s work in criminal liability and potential human rights litigation, click here>

To read more about tobacco and human rights, click here>

If you have questions or would like more information please contact ASH Staff Attorney Kelsey Romeo-Stuppy at romeo-stuppyk@ash.org.

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