by Mary Okioma
On April 27, 2012 during its 45th Session, the United Nations Commission on Population and Development (UNCPD) adopted a landmark Resolution on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents and youth.
The United Nations Commission on Population and Development is a body that monitors implementation of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action, a blueprint for governments to implement population policies with full respect to women’s reproductive rights.
Why is this resolution relevant to tobacco control and human rights? This resolution is relevant to tobacco control and human rights because enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is an inalienable human right for all. Tobacco use is the most important cause of preventable disease, disability and death in the world today.
OP23 of the resolution urges governments and the international community to ensure that young people, on an equitable and universal basis, enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health by providing them with access to sustainable health and social services without discrimination . . . by supporting measures to prevent tobacco and illicit drug use.
This Resolution is “landmark” because governments recognize the negative effects of tobacco use on health and reiterate the need to support measures to prevent tobacco use among adolescents and young people. If used as guide for development planning at country level, it could lead to significant progress both in tobacco control and human rights.
This resolution provides governments and civil society advocates with a basis for mainstreaming tobacco control in SRHR programs. It is important to note however that this resolution will only bring about progress if tobacco control and human rights advocates domesticate it and use it to inform tobacco control and mainstream women and children rights policy and program implementation.
Photo: Tobacco Grading in Indonesia. © Marty Otañez