International Red Cross takes a stand against donations from tobacco industry

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Public health think tank and Bloomberg awardee HealthJustice and the Southeast Asian Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) laud the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Society’s (IFRC) stand against receiving funds or any form of assistance from the tobacco industry and companies that work for the tobacco industry’s benefit.

The IFRC is the one of the biggest and oldest volunteer networks in the world, with 189 member National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies globally. In a document issued to its member societies in June 2015, the IFRC laid out regulations on tobacco companies, which include the rejection of any kind of support from the tobacco industry.

“The mission of the RCRC Movement is to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found, to protect life and health and ensure respect for the human being. [We acknowledge] that the sale of tobacco is directly contrary to the Movement’s objectives,” IFRC categorically declared.

According to IFRC, accepting tobaco industry funding poses “a conflict of interest as a public health actor” and could amount to a “breach of principles.” This has been a result of “understanding the ethical and reputational and credibility implications of accepting donations from the tobacco industry.”

Atty. Irene Reyes, Managing Director of HealthJustice, encourages other non-government organizations, advocacy groups and local government units to refuse donations from or any form of partnerships with the tobacco industry. “Tobacco companies do charity work in an attempt to look good and cover up the harms that they cause society through the manufacture of deadly products. Keep in mind that they are out to get the youth addicted to a vice that kills 240 Filipinos everyday and 6 million people globally each year,” she warned.

“We hope groups in the Philippines will follow suit and reject the industry’s blood money. These fake CSR activities of cigarette companies are a scheme to hide the truth that the tobacco industry kills people and ruins lives and can never be part of a movement that seeks to promote health and wellbeing,” said Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Program Director of SEATCA.

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