The World Health Organization is putting pressure on Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to ratify the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) despite the fact that the president has expressed specific reservations about doing so.
According to a story on en.tempo.com, Indonesian Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi said the latest “push” had been made by Margaret Chan, the WHO’s director general, during a speech at a meeting on Tuesday at the office of the coordinating minister for people’s welfare.
And the WHO’s Geneva-based regional director was quoted as saying that Indonesia needed to be a world leader in preventing diseases caused by cigarettes.
But according to a story last month in the Jakarta Post, the president has no plans to ratify the FCTC and will not rush to do so.
Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam told reporters at the state palace that Yudhoyono had not said anything about ratifying the convention.
He added that his office, through which legislation, conventions and other bills were channelled before going to the president for signature, had not received anything on the FCTC from the Health Ministry or the office of the coordinating minister for people’s welfare.
The cabinet secretary stressed that Yudhoyono was “in no rush” to ratify the FCTC because of the impact it would have on the country’s tobacco growers.
“Tobacco farmers needn’t be overly concerned or start holding protests just yet,” he said. “I don’t believe the president is in any rush to ratify this convention.”