The tobacco giant Philip Morris is suing Uruguay for having some of the best anti-smoking laws in the world, and there’s a good chance it could win, unless we strengthen the fight in court.
It’s a scary reality that one company, whose product kills, could overturn laws that protect our public health. But if our community’s voices are brought into court by a world class legal team, we could fight back with a force no judge could ignore, showing how this sets an unacceptable precedent for the world.
Let’s tell the court that this doesn’t just affect Uruguay — if Big Tobacco gets their way it opens the door for challenges everywhere — companies already have at least 4 other countries in their crosshairs, and many more have anti-smoking laws at risk.
We have to move fast — the court is already hearing arguments.Click to protect our public health and our democracies from corporate greed — each of our names will be submitted to the court:
Uruguay requires 80% of the cigarette package to be covered with medical warnings and graphic images.Smoking had reached crisis levels, killing around 7 Uruguayans each day, but since this law was put in place smoking has decreased every year! Now tobacco giant Philip Morris is arguing that the warning labels leave no space for its trademarks.
It’s all part of a global Philip Morris strategy to sue and intimidate countries. The company already slapped an expensive lawsuit on Australia — and if it wins against Uruguay, it could run cases against more than a hundred other countries including France, Norway, New Zealand, and Finland who are all considering new life-saving legislation.
Experts say Philip Morris has a good chance of winning because it’s using a closed door international tribunal that ruled for corporations two-thirds of the time last year. And their rulings are binding, even though many of the judges are private citizens with corporate ties instead of impartial legal experts. It’s up to us to force them to consider the devastating effect their ruling could have on health across the world.
Uruguay has its own legal team, but they’re rightly focused on arguing their individual defence. We can submit a unique legal argument about how this ruling would set a precedent for every country with smoking laws and a similar trade agreement. And we can show the court that public opinion is behind them if they rule in favour of Uruguay and health protection everywhere.
The more of us sign, the harder it is for the court to ignore us. Click below to join the call and forward this email to everyone:
When big corporations launch deadly attacks on our public good, our community has jumped into action — from Monsanto to H&M, we’ve made sure that profits don’t come before people. This is our chance to do it again, for all of us.
Emma, Maria Paz, Katie, Mais, Alice, Ricken, Risalat and the whole Avaaz team
Philip Morris Sues Uruguay Over Graphic Cigarette Packaging (NPR)
Big Tobacco puts countries on trial as concerns over TTIP deals mount (The Independent)
The Secret Trade Courts (New York Times)
Recent Trends in IIAs and ISDS (UN Conference on Trade and Development)
The arbitration game (The Economist)