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

GENEVA / DUSHANBE (29 July 2015) – United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to water and sanitation, Léo Heller, will visit Tajikistan from 4 to 12 August 2015 to assess the country’s achievements and remaining challenges in realizing the human rights to water and sanitation.

“I will look at disparities in access to sanitation and water between urban and rural areas, with a particular focus on sanitation,” said the independent expert charged by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on the realization of the human rights to water and sanitation worldwide.

“During my visit, I will pay special attention to potentially marginalized groups of people in terms of access to water and sanitation, and to the quality of water and of sanitation services,” Mr. Heller noted.

The human rights expert, who is visiting the country at the invitation of the authorities of Tajikistan, will meet with representatives from the Government, as well as from international organizations, donors, civil society and communities in Dushanbe, Teppai Samarkandi (Rudaki district), Lolazor village (Khatlon region) and Andarsoi village (Spitamen district).

At the end of his nine-day visit, Mr. Heller will share with the media the preliminary findings of his mission at a press conference on 12 August at 11:30 at the United Nations premises.

The Special Rapporteur will submit a comprehensive report to a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council, which will include his findings and recommendations to the Government of Tajikistan.

Léo Heller is the second UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation. He was appointed by the Human Rights Council in November 2014, having started his mandate on 1 December that year. Heller is currently a researcher in the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Brazil. Previously, Heller was Professor of the Department of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil from 1990 to 2014. During his career in the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Heller held several positions including the Head of the Department of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering, Associate Provost of Graduate Studies, Dean of the School of Engineering and coordinator of the Graduate Program in Basic Sanitation, the Environment and Water Resources. Learn more, log on to:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/WaterAndSanitation/SRWater/Pages/SRWaterIndex.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

UN Human Rights, country page – Tajikistan: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/TJIndex.aspx

For more information and press inquiries, please contact in Dushanbe:
Suhrob Shoev (+992 44 600-56-00 / 600-55-96 (Ext: 132) / suhrob.shoev@undp.org
Madoka Saji (+41 79-618-3429 / msaji@ohchr.org) or write to srwatsan@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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