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Fiji: UN expert to assess environmental impact on human rights


05 December 2018

GENEVA (5 December 2018) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment David R. Boyd will visit Fiji from 7 to 18 December.

“My visit will provide a chance to evaluate how Fiji’s global environmental and human rights commitments are translated into national implementation,” said David R. Boyd.

“I commend Fiji for recognising the right to a healthy environment in its constitution in 2013,” the independent expert said. “A healthy and sustainable environment is essential for the enjoyment of human rights.”

The Special Rapporteur said he would assess the effects of climate change on the small island state, where a wide range of human rights were already being infringed. “I am also going to look into other environmental issues including biodiversity, air quality, development planning, and mining activities through which I will identify good practice and challenges as per Fiji’s human rights obligations.”

During his visit, Boyd will meet with Government officials, the national human rights commission, representatives of civil society, and other experts, as well as environmental activists.  He will present his preliminary observations on the visit at a press conference on 17 December at 16:30 local time at Level 8, Kadavu House, UNDP Office, Suva.  Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report on the visit to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2020.


David R. Boyd was appointed as the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the  environment for a three-year term commencing August 1, 2018. He is an associate professor of law, policy, and sustainability at the University of British Columbia. His career has included serving as the executive director of Ecojustice, appearing before the Supreme Court of Canada, and working as a special advisor on sustainability for Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin. He has advised many governments on environmental, constitutional, and human rights policy and co-chaired Vancouver’s effort to become the world’s greenest city by 2020. He is a member of the World Commission on Environmental Law, an expert advisor for the UN’s Harmony with Nature Initiative, and a member of ELAW, the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide.

The 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 – Fiji

For additional information, please contact: Soo-Young Hwang +41 79 444 4537 (before/during the dates of the visit) / [email protected])

For media requests and queries relating to the press conference on 17 December please contact:  in Fiji, Sushi Patel at [email protected].

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts: Jeremy Laurence (+ 41 22 917 9383 / [email protected])

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rights: