Controversy continues grow with objections from several quarters over plans for Bali to host the World Tobacco Asia Conference 2014 (WTA) set to be held on the resort island September 24-25, 2014.
Joining a growing chorus opposed to the conference being held in Bali is leading academics, community leaders, anti-smoke activists and students.
Forming part of the front to see the WTA moved from Bali is Artawan of the Faculty of Public Health at Bali’s Udayana University. “We refused this meeting in Bali and anywhere else in Indonesia,” said Artawan while speaking at a seminar held on Saturday, August 31, 2013.
Urging a nationwide refusal of the WTA being held anywhere in Indonesia, Artawan reminded his listeners that Indonesia is a member of G-20 and the only country in ASEAN yet to adopt the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC).
Quoted by Beritabali.com, Artawan continued: “The countries that are members of G-20 are all large and strong nations. But only Indonesia has failed to ratify the FCTC.”
He said that together with the anti-smoking network active in Indonesia would continue to work for the conferences cancellation in Bali. “We will send a petition to the provincial government of Bali, the Minister of Health and the President, Our friends will recruit support in their respective areas,” he said.
Artawan’s view is that controlling tobacco does not mean forbidding people to smoke. Moreover, he sees the consumption of tobacco products as the right of every individual, but should not to be confused with human rights. Adding: “All we want is to breathe clean air. And, the right to clean air is clearly a human right.”
Artawa went on to explain that cigarettes are a major health issue, making cigarette smoking closely connected with the health goals stated in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of 2015.
Claiming Indonesia is late in its pursuit of MDG, he concluded: “Smoking is one of the main causes of non-communicable diseases. One of the biggest causes of death is linked to cigarettes. Because of this, our commitment to tobacco control is a top priority. Because of this, we urge the government to urgently ratify the FCTC Convention.”
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