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Row over JTI Red Cross donations

| February 26, 2013

The Geneva-based International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum says it wants to return a donation made to it by Japan Tobacco International, but JTI says it won’t take the money back, according to a Swiss Radio International report.

In November, international anti-smoking and health advocacy groups protested at the museum’s decision to accept a donation from JTI, saying that it did not fit well with the organization’s mission ‘to protect life and health and respect human beings’.

And last week, museum director, Roger Mayou, said his organization had made a mistake in accepting tobacco industry money for their $20 million renovation. JTI had pledged $150,000 to the project.

However, according to Saturday’s edition of the Tribune de Genève newspaper, JTI said in a statement that it refused to take back the donated money.

JTI was quoted as saying it “does not accept this unilateral termination or repayment of the amount allocated for the construction of the new museum, [an] amount given and accepted in good faith and at the express request of the Museum Foundation’.

The funds are currently blocked in an account overseen by the museum’s lawyer, and the museum has formally ended its partnership with JTI.

Meanwhile, the Geneva Red Cross, which had also accepted funding from JTI, in November saw no reason to ‘discriminate against a perfectly legal organisation’.

However, its president, Guy Mettan, told the Tribune de Geneve that the organization was considering terminating its partnership with JTI.

But he added that it would take the time to find other sources of funding in order not to have to lay off staff.

Category: Breaking News

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