WHO criticized by tobacco company ahead of meeting

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WHO criticized by tobacco company ahead of meeting

The tobacco company Japan Tobacco International (JTI) criticized the World Health Organization’s (WHO) lack of transparency ahead of a tobacco meeting this month, citing international law expert Franklin Berman.

The fifth session of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control did not allow public or media observers, which Berman argued was not justified.

Approximately 200 lobbyists and observers signed up for the sessions but only 30 seats were made available, according to JTI.

In a published opinion, Berman claimed that the decision to exclude the public from the meeting raises questions over the group’s decision making procedures and falls short of sound administrative practice and rule of law.

“Businesses like ours bring expertise to the table and should be able to contribute to the development of policies that concern our industry,” said Michiel Reerink, JTI vice president.

“We clearly raised our concerns regarding exclusion in a letter to the WHO on 20 June 2014, which included concrete proposals to improve transparency. Unfortunately, we have yet to receive a reply. Any moves to shut out the public again during the COP6 proceedings in Moscow would show a worrying lack of integrity at the heart of the COP process.”

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