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UN rights expert on toxic materials launches first official visit to Sierra Leone

GENEVA (9 August 2017) – United Nations expert Baskut Tuncak will visit Sierra Leone from 14 to 25 August to assess the country’s human rights record in relation to hazardous substances and waste.

The Special Rapporteur, who is making his first official visit to the country, said he would assess Sierra Leone’s work so far to protect people’s rights from the effects of toxic materials.

“I am keen to learn more about Sierra Leone’s legislative and policy frameworks to protect human rights from pollution and contamination, including with regard to extractive industries and the agricultural sectors,” Mr Tuncak said.

“During the visit, I will also focus on the efforts by the State to ensure accountability for human rights violations and abuses, as well as redress for victims, particularly those most at risk, such as children, women, older people and workers,” said the expert on hazardous substances and waste.

Mr. Tuncak, who is visiting the country at the invitation of the Government, will meet Government representatives as well as civil society organizations and the business community.

A press conference will be held at the conclusion of the visit, on 25 August 2017, at the UNDP office, 55 Wilkinson Road, Freetown, at 12:00 noon local time. Access to the press conference will be strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report with his findings and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2018.

Mr. Baskut Tuncak (Turkey) was appointed as Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes by the UN Human Rights Council in 2014. As Special Rapporteur, he is 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 that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page: Sierra Leone

For more information and media requests, please contact:
In Sierra Leone (during the visit): (Alessandro Marra / +41 79 444 4332)
In Geneva (before and after the visit): Alessandro Marra (+41 22 917 9882 / amarra@ohchr.org) or write to srtoxicwaste@ohchr.org

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

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