Mail to Prime Minister on International Petitions sent on 17 July 2013
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Sent: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 11:49 PM
Subject: International petitions against a tobacco plant in the free port of Mauritius
Honourable Prime Minister,
International petitions against the setting up of a tobacco manufacturing plant in the free port of Mauritius
On 21 June 2013, Cabinet took note that an international tobacco company based in Dubai would set up a tobacco manufacturing plant in the free port of Mauritius for export to African countries.
In a mail addressed to you on 26 June 2013, VISA strongly protested against the setting up of the tobacco plant, enumerating the reasons thereof.
VISA, in collaboration with its overseas partners, also circulated two online petitions with a view to mobilizing international support against the tobacco plant. The first petition was circulated from 5-12 July 2013 in collaboration with Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) based in Washington and endorsed by 183 organizations/tobacco control advocates. A second petition was circulated from 8-13 July 2013 with the assistance of the African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA) and endorsed by 50 organizations/tobacco control advocates. Thus the two petitions against the tobacco plant were endorsed by a total of 233 organizations/tobacco control advocates in a period of just one week. The petitioners were from 46 different countries, including 19 from the African continent. The two petitions are herewith attached. They are ongoing and a second batch of petitioners will be communicated to you in due course.
Honourable Prime Minister, the petitions conducted by ASH and ATCA on behalf of VISA indicate the strong and wide condemnation by the international community of the proposed tobacco manufacturing plant operating from Mauritius and exporting to African countries. The World Bank, in a report published in June 2013 entitled “The Challenge of Non-Communicable Diseases and Road Traffic Injuries in Sub-Saharan Africa- an Overview” warns that “tobacco companies are shifting their focus from the west to developing nations, and marketing heavily in Asia and Africa.” The tobacco plant, once operational, will contribute in increasing tobacco-related mortality and morbidity and aggravate the problem of non-communicable diseases in the African continent.
The setting up of the tobacco plant will destroy the high esteem that Mauritius enjoys globally for its exemplary achievements in the field of tobacco control and particularly in the successful implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control of the World Health Organization (WHO FCTC). It will also indicate a lack of solidarity of the Mauritian government towards other African countries in the face of an epidemic with serious health, economic, social and environmental consequences.
In view of the above, VISA appeals to you to consider favourably the request of the 233 organizations/tobacco control advocates from 46 countries for not approving the setting up of the tobacco manufacturing plant in the free port of Mauritius by the Dubai-based international tobacco company.
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