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UN expert to assess hazardous substances and wastes in Italy

GENEVA (29 November 2021) – The UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights, Marcos Orellana, will visit Italy from 30 November to 13 December 2021 to assess the country’s human rights record in relation to hazardous substances and wastes.

The UN expert will study the adverse effects of chemicals, waste management, pesticides and industrial contamination on human rights, and meet representatives of the Government, regional and local authorities as well as civil society and affected communities.

"I am profoundly concerned by reports of major and persistent contamination and waste management problems which are hurting the health and quality of life of the Italian people," Orellana said.

"As is often the case, environmental consequences of the unsound management of hazardous substances can have a significant impact on people's lives, with the most vulnerable segments of the population paying a disproportionately high price."

During the visit, the UN expert will visit sites affected by industrial contamination and meet affected communities in Rome and the regions of Veneto, Campania and Puglia.

"It's especially important for me to hear first-hand witness accounts from local communities, to better understand how toxics and contamination affect their lives, their access to information and the avenues of effective remedy," Orellana said. "I look forward to learning how my mandate can assist in finding solutions to existing problems and advocating for any good practices implemented in Italy."

The Special Rapporteur will hold a news conference on 13 December local time in Rome, where he will share preliminary observations from the visit. The time and place of the press conference will be communicated later.

Orellana will present a comprehensive report with his findings and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2022.

ENDS

Mr. Marcos A. Orellana is the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what are known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. The Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN human rights system, is the general name for the Council's independent investigative and monitoring mechanisms that deal with 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 of any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity.

For additional information and media requests please contact the OHCHR Secretariat: Gotzon Onandia Zarrabe (gotzon.onandiazarrabe@un.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact Mr. Jeremy Laurence (+41 22 917 9383 /jeremy.laurence@un.org)

Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

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