Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Enemies Of Human Rights Are Gearing Up


 On Human Rights Day IOGT International highlights the growing obstacles that corporations like Big Alcohol pose to the promotion and protection of Human Rights

New York, USA, (December 10, 2013) -- The global achievements in Human Rights protection and promotion over the last 50 years, are today under attack by aggressive corporations.
Abusing free trade agreements these corporations seek to undermine Human Rights accomplishments, in order to make it harder for governments to regulate harmful products and often-unethical operations.
The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. In 1993, following the momentum of the World Conference on Human Rights, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action was adopted and the mandate of High Commissioner for the promotion and protection of all human rights was created.


”Since the end of World War II, the promotion and protection of human rights was understood as a matter of priority for the international community,” says Mr. Sven-Olov Carlsson, President of IOGT International. ”20 years ago, these efforts of the global community got another boost by the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action – widely regarded as one of the most significant human rights documents of the past century.”


In spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Vienna Declaration reaffirms the global commitment to justice, social progress, and better standards of life in larger freedom. It reemphasizes the Charter of the United Nations and its fundamental principles of peace, equal rights and self-determination of peoples, democracy, pluralism, development and solidarity.


Today we clearly see that these achievements, and that the momentum to promote Human Rights and human dignity are under threat”, says Carlsson.“Multinational corporations, making up giant industries like Big Tobacco or Big Alcohol are aggressively using free trade agreements to undermine policies that have improved living conditions, public health, empowered development and social progress”, explains Carlsson.


Independent research analyzing the role of the global alcohol and tobacco industries in trade negotiations coined the term: ”selling addictions”.
Alcohol is the socially most harmful drug. It is one of the biggest obstacles to development globally because it has a negative impact on five of eight Millennium Development Goals and is a major risk factor for the global epidemic of Noncommunicable diseases.


Evidence shows that these industries attack both existing laws and policies put in place to protect populations from harmful products and to foster better standards of living; and they aggressively lobby to limit future possibilities for societies to regulate their products.


Evidence shows as well that Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol, among others, are keen on keeping the content of trade talks and their lobbying secret, out of sight and out of influence from the people these trade agreements would affect.
”The global alcohol industry not only aggressively promotes alcohol but also attacks the very corner stones of the self-determination of peoples, of democracy and Human Rights, abusing free trade talks”, says Carlsson.
“IOGT international calls upon the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Civil Society together with the decision-makers of the world to prohibit trade talks only for the benefit of a few corporations that undermine Human Rights and the progress made in the last decades."

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