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Tobacco Experts Visit NZ

For Immediate Release
Monday 13th November 2006

Indigenous Tobacco Resistance Leaders Meet in New Zealand This Week

In a historic first, indigenous public health experts on tobacco use from around the world will meet with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and New Zealand Government officials in Auckland this week to support the role of indigenous peoples in implementing the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) at country level.

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is the world’s first global public health treaty and gives people protection from tobacco for the first time by setting international standards on tobacco price and tax increases, second-hand smoke, tobacco advertising, sponsorship, labeling and illicit trade.

Te Reo Marama, Maori Smokefree Coalition, Director Shane Kawenata Bradbrook says the forum “will allow us to begin a collaborative process for addressing tobacco use and its devastating and disproportionate impact on indigenous peoples around the world including New Zealand Maori.”

To date, 141 parties (countries) have ratified the treaty which requires them to implement specific tobacco control provisions aimed at ending the global tobacco epidemic.

“As the populations most affected by tobacco use, indigenous peoples are coming together to lay future plans that will ultimately resist the tobacco industry in our respective countries,” says Bradbrook. “It is also an opportunity as indigenous peoples to prepare ourselves for the battles ahead.”

Delegates have begun arriving from GenevaSwitzerland, Argentina, Hawaii, Native Americans, Australia and from around Aotearoa New Zealand. The meeting will also include 42 international and national observers.

The WHO FCTC is the first treaty negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organisation and the most widely embraced in United Nations history.

The Treaty is evidence-based and affirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health. One of its core provisions, Article 4. 2(c), recognizes the need for indigenous peoples to be engaged in the development of appropriate tobacco control programmes.

Co-sponsored by the World Health Organisation and the New Zealand Government, the three-day closed forum is by invitation only. The three-day session will begin on Tuesday 14th November at 3pmat Manurewa Marae.


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