The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control took a ‘hostile and alarming’ turn on Monday when the public was kicked out of the meeting, according to a story by Drew Johnson for the Washington Times. The sixth meeting of the COP is being held in Moscow from October 13 to 18.
None of the COP delegates believed that taxpayers from around the world had the right to attend a meeting that has devoured almost $20 million in public funds during the past two years in paying for salaries, travel expenses and other costs related to the biennial convention.
Johnson said that WHO officials and delegates argued that banning the public was necessary because of fears that tobacco growers and cigarette company operatives had infiltrated the meeting.
‘Not that it would have mattered if they had,’ Johnson wrote. ‘Public attendees are required to sit silently in the back of the huge convention hall, hundreds of feet from where the debates occur…
‘After the doors were slammed shut and the meeting resumed, it became clear why the delegates chased the public away: They wanted to work on passing a global tax on tobacco in secret.’