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Marshall Islands / Toxic waste: first fact- mission by UN human rights expert on hazardous waste

GENEVA (21 March 2012) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Calin Georgescu will visit the Marshall Islands from 26 to 30 March 2012 to assess the impact on human rights of the nuclear tests conducted by the United States between 1946 and 1958, in what is the first ever visit to the country by an independent expert of the UN Human Rights Council.

“I will assess the efforts undertaken by the governments of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and of the United States of America to eliminate or mitigate the negative effects of the testing on the Marshallese population,” said the Special Rapporteur on the human rights obligations related to environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and waste.

“This visit will give my mandate the chance to gather lessons learnt in this field of nuclear testing and ensure accountability in such cases,” Mr. Georgescu said. “It will also be an exceptional opportunity to assess how the Marshallese peoples’ basic rights including the right to food, adequate housing and health have been affected.”

During his four-day mission, the independent expert will hold meetings with several stakeholders, including government officials and civil society organizations. Based on information gathered during the visit, the Special Rapporteur will prepare a report containing its conclusions and recommendations to present to the Human Rights Council in September 2012.

A press briefing will be held on Friday 30 March 2012 at 12:00 pm at the Marshall Island resort in Majuro.

Calin Georgescu, the Executive Director of the National Centre for Sustainable Development in Bucharest (Romania), was appointed Special Rapporteur in 2011 by the Human Rights Council. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. Learn more, log on to: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/environment/waste/index.htm

UN Human Rights – Asia-Pacific Region: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/AsiaRegionIndex.aspx

For inquiries and media requests, please contact:
In Majuro: Mr. Terry Keju, Majuro UNFPA Joint Presence (Phone: +692 625-6486/ email: keju@unfpa.org)
In Geneva: (+ 41 22 917 9333 / srtoxicwaste@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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