UN expert to assess hazardous substances and wastes in Italy

OHCHR

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.

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