Observers, Press Kicked Out of United Nations Tobacco Conference in Moscow
Observer Jeff Stier of National Center for Public Policy Research Says Secretive Conference Has Now Endorsed Policies that Will Lead to More Tobacco Smoking
Washington, D.C. - Credentialed media and members of the public were kicked out of the United Nations' biennial "Conference of the Parties" (COP-6) for the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) tobacco control treaty just concluded in Moscow.
The following is a statement by Jeff Stier, head of the National Center's Risk Analysis Division and one of the observers who was prevented by FCTC officials and Russian security personnel from observing the deliberations.
Shame on you, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, for holding your meetings in private.
You ejected the public on the first day. On the second day, without a vote, you removed all the journalists - including those with credentials you granted them.
Not only did you remove the public and the media, you removed any credibility the FCTC had. Delegates will have to answer to their governments and the media when they return home.
I sat outside the outer room of your farce of the Sixth Conference of the Parties (COP6) in Moscow and spoke with frustrated international journalists who were kept in the dark about the policy-making discussions. Now that I'm back in the United States, I will share my experience with media and government officials - who believe in transparent government. They will be rightfully outraged.
Bad procedure leads to bad outcomes. Your calls for absurdly increased taxes will lead to more illicit trade of cigarettes.
Your call to tax smokeless tobacco products such as snus as if they were combustible cigarettes will lead to more harm from tobacco. And worst of all, your recommendation to prohibit e-cigarettes will lead to more smoking.
The conference, which received worldwide publicity despite shielding most of its deliberations from the press and public, was held in Moscow.
The FCTC has been ratified by 179 countries and signed, but not ratified, by the United States.
The U.S. government delegation, which usually attends with observer status, did not attend this year because of the economic sanctions against Russia.
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active and recent contributors.
Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.