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Human rights and the environment: UN expert announces first official visit to Uruguay

GENEVA / MONTEVIDEO (20 April 2017) – United Nations Special Rapporteur John Knox will undertake his first official mission to Uruguay from 24 to 28 April, to assess how the country is defending and promoting human rights relating to environmental protection.

“What measures are being taken by the Uruguayan Government to fulfil its human rights obligations concerning the environment?” asked the independent expert designated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the issue of human rights obligations related to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

“I will focus particularly on the measures related to the rights to life, health, food, water, housing, participation in decision-making processes and effective access to remedies, and formulate recommendations to carry out these human rights obligations,” Mr. Knox said.

“I am also interested in gathering good practices related to innovative ways of responding to environmental challenges, particularly in the light of Uruguay’s robust domestic legislation which notably enshrines the protection of the environment as a matter of general interest,” the expert noted.

During his five-day visit, Mr. Knox will meet with Government officials, delegates from the business sector and representatives from civil society, in Montevideo and in the Santa Lucía Basin.

The expert will share with the media his preliminary findings at a press conference on the last day of the mission, on Friday 28 April at 11:00, at the UNDP building, Paraguay 1470, piso 5, Montevideo. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

The final report of the Special Rapporteur will be presented to the Human Rights Council in March 2018.

The UN Human Rights Council appointed Mr. John H. Knox (USA) in 2012 to serve as Independent Expert, and reappointed him in 2015 as Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations related to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. The Council requested him, a professor of international law at Wake Forest University in the United States, to clarify the application of human rights norms to environmental protection, and to identify best practices in the use of human rights obligations in environmental policy-making.

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 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: Uruguay

For more information and media requests, please contact:

In Montevideo (during the visit): please contact Ms. Graciela Dede (598) 2909-3806 / graciela.dede@one.un.org) or Mr. Thibaut Guillet (+41 22 79 444 3781 / tguillet@ohchr.org) or write to srenvironment@ohchr.org

In Geneva (before and after the visit): please contact Mr. Thibaut Guillet (+41 22 917 93 89 / tguillet@ohchr.org) or write to srenvironment@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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