22nd March 2021 by Adam Bertscher & Leslie London. From The Conversation.
The lockdown restrictions introduced in South Africa to curb the initial spread of COVID-19 in March 2020 were the tightest in the world. They included a ban on alcohol sales. This, the government said, was to reduce the pressure on hospitals caused by drinking-related trauma, and to discourage social gatherings.
With this restriction, decreases in violence, injuries and trauma-related hospitals were reported following the ban on sales. The country has the heaviest drinkers in the world and counts a 12% of adolescents consuming their first alcoholic beverage before the age of 13, with 65% of young people between 15- and 19-years old reporting binge drinking.
In 2012, the South African government drafted the Control of Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages Bill. The Bill sought to restrict advertising, marketing, sponsorship, or promotion of alcoholic beverages except at the point of sale. It was drafted specifically to protect children from alcohol advertising. This intervention is consistent with World Health Organisation recommendations to control alcohol-related harm.
The Bill underwent three regulatory and socio-economic impact assessments. It was meant to be published for public comment in 2013 but was never made public. Our previous research found that the alcohol and allied industries lobbied heavily against the draft Bill stating that it would unjustifiably violate human rights (i.e., freedom of expression and consumers’ rights to information).
However, by using international human rights law and specifically the Siracusa Principle, researchers found that restricting alcohol advertising to protect children’s rights and the right to health is justifiable, for several reasons.
Introducing regulation to reduce alcohol-related harm is fully consistent with human rights protection, particularly for children. Such regulation could include restricting alcohol advertising, marketing, sponsorship, or promotion.
The international treaty on transnational corporations, business enterprises and human rights is a new draft international law that could substantially strengthen public health goals. This treaty would place obligations on non-state actors, similar to those on governments, and help to make commercial actors accountable for their business practices.
To read the full article click on the following link: https://theconversation.com/we-tested-claims-that-limiting-alcohol-advertising-in-south-africa-would-violate-rights-156771?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=bylinetwitterbutton.