Delay in Enacting the Tobacco Control Law Constitutes a Violation of the Right to Life by Government – CTPD

Lusaka —

The Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) has noted with concern the delay in the enactment of the Tobacco Control law considering that the Ministry of Health statistics show that about 7,000 deaths in Zambia are tobacco-related; deaths that are preventable if government establish required measures.

In a statement today, CTPD legal Researcher Lucy Musonda said the government plays an imperative role in protecting the right to life of its people which is enshrined in the Bill of Rights embedded in the Zambian Constitution of 1991 as amended by Act no 18 of 1996 and Act no 2 of 2016.

She said the right to life is dependent on other rights such as the right to health and clean environment. It is government’s duty to respect, protect and fulfil the right to life.

Ms. Musonda added that the obligation to protect means the government must protect individuals against human rights abuses and the duty to fulfil requires the government to take actions that facilitate the enjoyment of the right to life; this action should be the enactment of the Tobacco Control law.

She furher explained that in 2008, Zambia committed to fulfil the right to life through the ratification of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health and obligates Zambia to enact a law that includes measures to reduce both the demand and supply of tobacco.

Ms. Musonda however noted the government has taken a reluctant approach towards the enactment of the Tobacco Control Law and this demonstrates its lack of commitment to protect and fulfil the right to life as tobacco continues to kill people in Zambia.

And Ms. Musonda said as World No-Tobacco Day approaches, CTPD urges the government to uphold its obligation to protect and fulfil the right to life and public health.

She said this should be demonstrated through expediting the process of enactment of the Tobacco Control Bill.

The CPTD legal researcher stated that the law will send a strong message to the public about the need to help reduce diseases and deaths caused by tobacco use and exposure, hence, safeguarding the right to life of all Zambian people.

Ms. Musonda noted that this is cardinal because tobacco intake does not only affect voluntary smokers but also secondary and tertiary consumers, hence, the right to life of every human being is under threat.

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