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Water and sanitation: first mission ever to Namibia by a UN Special Rapporteur

GENEVA (1 July 2011) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, will visit Namibia from 4-11 July 2011 to asses the situation of the most disadvantaged and marginalized groups in the country, and provide recommendations to the authorities, the international community and other parties.

“As human rights, all people, without discrimination, must have access to safe drinking water and sanitation, which is affordable, acceptable, available and safe,” said Ms. de Albuquerque launching the first visit ever to Namibia by an independent expert designated by the UN Human Rights Council. “States must continually take steps to ensure that access to these fundamental rights is guaranteed.”

“This mission will particularly consider the situation of the most vulnerable groups with a special emphasis on the human rights principles of equality, non-discrimination, participation and accountability,” the Special Rapporteur noted.

During her eight-day mission, Ms. de Albuquerque will travel to the North of the country to visit the flood affected region as well as indigenous communities living there. She will also visit an informal settlement in the capital, Windhoek.

The human rights expert will meet with a wide array of Government ministries with competencies in the areas of water and sanitation, as well as with representatives from civil society organizations, UN entities and the donor community. Her findings and recommendations will be presented in a report to the Human Rights Council.

A press conference will be held at the end of the mission, on Monday 11 at 12:00, at the UN House in Windhoek.

Catarina de Albuquerque is a Portuguese lawyer currently working as a senior legal adviser at the Office for Documentation and Comparative Law (an independent institution under the Portuguese Prosecutor General’s Office) in the area of human rights. She holds a DES in international relations with a specialization in international law from the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. Ms. de Albuquerque was appointed in September 2008.

Learn more about the Special Rapporteur’s mandate and work, log on to: www.ohchr.org/SRwaterandsanitation

OHCHR Country Page – Namibia: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/NAIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Lucinda O’Hanlon (Mob: +44 79 201 0124 / email: lohanlon@ohchr.org) or write to srwatsan@ohchr.org

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