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SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE RIGHT TO HEALTH TO VISIT COLOMBIA

20 September 2007

The Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Paul Hunt, will visit Colombia from 20 to 22 September 2007.

Between 14-19 May 2007, the Special Rapporteur visited Ecuador at the invitation of the Government. The main purpose of the visit was to look into the aerial spraying of illicit crops along the Ecuador-Colombia border and its possible impact on the right to the highest attainable standard of health of those living in Ecuador.

In April, The Special Rapporteur wrote to the Government of Colombia asking to visit Bogota, at the time of his mission to Ecuador, in order to discuss the aerial spraying issue. Unfortunately, the Government was unable to agree to a visit at this time due to other commitments and the Ambassador in Ecuador was also unavailable.

The Special Rapporteur warmly welcomes the recent decision of the Government of Colombia to invite him to visit between 20-22 September 2007.

In Colombia, the Special Rapporteur will meet with Government officials and civil society representatives, including non-governmental organizations, the media and academics. He will hold a press conference on Friday, 21 September 2007. The Special Rapporteur will submit his report on his visits to Ecuador and Colombia to the Human Rights Council as soon as possible after returning from Bogota.

The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert of the Human Rights Council, mandated to help States, and others, promote and protect the right to the highest attainable standard of health.

For further information on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and copies of available reports, please consult http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/health/right/index.htm

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For use of the information media; not an official record