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UN expert on right to safe drinking water and sanitation launches first mission to Tuvalu

GENEVA / FUNAFUTI (13 July 2012) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Catarina de Albuquerque will visit Tuvalu from 17 to 19 July 2012 to examine the situation of the human right to water and sanitation. Her mission will be the first ever to the South Pacific country by an independent expert of the UN Human Rights Council.

“I will focus on the impacts of climate change on this human right, and explore the current situation in the country, especially in the informal settlements and the outer islands. I will highlight in particular the issue of discrimination against women and children, and need of participation,” said Ms. de Albuquerque, who visits Tuvalu at the invitation of Government.

During her three-day visit, the Special Rapporteur will meet with representatives from the Government, as well as from international organizations, donors and civil society. She will also visit informal settlements in the capital, Funafuti.

The Special Rapporteur will present the preliminary findings of her mission at a press conference on 19 July at 10:40 am, at the Media Office of the Department of Information in Funafuti, Tuvalu.

Based on the information obtained during the mission, Ms. de Albuquerque will present a comprehensive report to a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council, which will include her final findings and recommendations to the Government of Tuvalu and the international community.

After her visit to Tuvalu, Ms. de Albuquerque will travel to Kiribati on a similar fact-finding mission from 23 to 26 July. Furthermore, she will also meet with UN agencies and bilateral donors in Fiji in order to discuss the situation of Tuvalu and Kiribati prior to her respective mission. Further details about the Kiribati mission will be released prior to the visit.

Catarina de Albuquerque is the first UN Special Rapporteur on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation. She was appointed by the Human Rights Council in 2008. Ms. de Albuquerque is a Professor at the Law Faculties of the Universities of Braga and Coimbra and a Senior Legal Adviser at the Office for Documentation and Comparative Law, an independent institution under the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Learn more about the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur: http://www.ohchr.org/srwaterandsanitation

UN Human Rights, country page – Tuvalu: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/TVIndex.aspx

For more information and press inquiries, please contact:
Madoka Saji (OHCHR Geneva): +41 79 444 4917/ msaji@ohchr.org
Mika Kanervavuori (OHCHR Fiji): +679 9991641/ mika.kanervavuori@one.un.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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