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Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights

Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes

Purpose of the mandate

The exposure of people to a myriad of harmful substances without their prior informed consent is a human rights issue. However, it is a human rights issue for which solutions exist. The mandate seeks to help States, businesses and other stakeholders adopt such solutions.

Learn how exposure to hazardous substances directly implicates human rights

About the mandate

The mandate on hazardous substances and wastes was first established in 1995 by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (Commission Resolution 1995/81). The mandate has been renewed most recently in 2023 through resolution A/HRC/RES/54/10.

Learn more about the mandate and the resolutions that established it

Current mandate holder

Dr. Marcos A. Orellana

Dr. Marcos A. Orellana was appointed Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights in August 2020.

He is an expert in international law and the law on human rights and the environment. His practice as legal advisor has included work with United Nations agencies, governments and non-governmental organisations.

Read Dr. Marcos A. Orellana's full biography

Key Documents

Guidelines for good practices for disposal of toxics

The Special Rapporteur reflects on the ongoing challenges relating to the disposal of toxic wastes. Following a broad consultative process to identify, disseminate and provide guidance on good practices, he gives recommendations to assist States in ensuring that their laws and other practices are in line with their human rights obligations.

Principles on the protection of workers from exposure to toxic substances

Based on decades of work under the mandate, including country visits, thematic research and communications with States and non-State actors, these 15 principles help States and other actors protect workers from toxic exposures, and provide remedies for violations of their rights.

Assessment of company responses to human rights issues within the chemical industry

This assessment, prepared by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre in collaboration with the Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights, analyses trends in alleged cases of human rights abuse relating to the chemical industry. Responses of States and companies are also covered.

Contact Information

Dr. Marcos A. Orellana, Special Rapporteur on Toxics and Human Rights

Avenue Giuseppe Motta 48,
CH-1202 Geneva
Fax : +41 22 917 90 06
E-mail: [email protected]

Follow the Special Rapporteur on Twitter: @SRtoxics

To subscribe to or unsubscribe from the Special Rapporteur's newsletter, please email [email protected] with “newsletter” in the subject line.

Former mandate holders

Mr. Baskut Tuncak (Turkey/USA)

Mr. Marc Pallemaerts (Belgium)

Mr. Calin Georgescu (Romania)

Mr. Okechukwu Ibeanu (Nigeria)

Ms. Fatma Zohra Ouhachi-Vesely (Algeria)


Statement – Plenary of the third session of the ad hoc open-ended working group to prepare proposals for a science-policy panel on chemicals and waste
17 June 2024

Statement – Plenary of the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution
26 April 2024

Recorded intervention – conference on “Tomorrow's Chemicals Policy: Perspectives and Challenges”, organized in the context of the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union, in Brussels
23 - 24 April 2024
Videos: Part 1 | Part 2

Recorded intervention - Side event on "The right to a healthy environment and drug policy" organized during the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND67) in Vienna
Video - Link to the event
20 March 2024

Recorded Intervention of the Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights, Mr. Marcos Orellana – Greenpeace Side Event on Right to Protest, International Seabed Authority Meeting 
Video - Transcript
18 March 2024

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