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First visit to Slovenia by UN expert on human rights, water and sanitation

LJUBLJANA / GENEVA (15 April 2010) – The UN independent expert on human rights, water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, will visit Slovenia from 19-23 April 2010 to collect first hand information and hold a dialogue with the Slovenian Government about the steps taken to ensure that the rights to safe drinking water and sanitation are guaranteed in its territory.

“This mission will be guided by human rights principles such as equality and non discrimination, with a focus on the situation of vulnerable groups with regard to access to water and sanitation,” said the Independent Expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to focus on the issue of human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

During her first visit to Slovenia, Ms. de Albuquerque will also give particular attention to issues such as water quality, sanitation, including wastewater treatment, and affordability of water and sanitation services in the country.

As human rights, all people, without discrimination, must have access to safe drinking water and sanitation, which is affordable, acceptable, available and safe. States must continually take steps to ensure that access to these fundamental rights is guaranteed.

Ms de Albuquerque will meet with Government officials, water and wastewater operators, and representatives from civil society and academia. Besides official Government meetings in the capital, Ljubljana, she will also visit Dolenjska as well as the coastal area. Her findings and recommendations will be presented in a report to the Human Rights Council.

A press conference will be held at Cankarjev dom, room Lily Novy, at 12:00 on 23 April.

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. She was appointed as Independent Expert in September 2008 and took up her functions in November 2008.