中文 | Français | Русский | Español

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). Today it is under U.N. Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/RES/45/17 of 2020.

Learn more about the mandate and the resolutions that established it

Current mandate holder

Dr. Marcos A. Orellana, Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights 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. View document A/HRC/36/41

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. View document A/HRC/42/41

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. PDF: English

Latest Thematic Reports

The stages of the plastics cycle and their impacts on human rights: The report examines the current and future negative implications of the various stages of the plastics cycle for the enjoyment of human rights. The ever-increasing plastics production, incineration and waste dumping only aggravate the detrimental consequences. Toxic chemicals are commonly added to plastics, causing serious risks and harms to human rights and the environment. View document A/76/207 

Right to science in the context of toxic substances: This thematic report is dedicated to the human right to science with regard to the risks and harms associated with the life cycle of hazardous substances and wastes, examining the dynamics and interconnections between scientific progress, the diffusion of scientific information and the science-policy interface. | View document A/HRC/48/61

25th anniversary of the mandate on toxics and human rights: This report, presented to the General Assembly in 2020, highlights the mandate's recent work on environmental justice for indigenous peoples, children, workers and other vulnerable groups—as well as issues like the right to information. The report looks at current challenges and the way forward. View report page | View document A/75/290

Latest Country Reports

Mission to Brazil (2-13 December 2019)
View advance unedited version of the report A/HRC/45/12/Add.2

Mission to Canada (24 May-6 June 2019)
View document A/HRC/45/12/Add.1


Latest news


More press releases and statements ...

Archived news (over 3 years old)

Call for Inputs

Call for submissions – Country visit to Mauritius
Deadline: 22 October 2021

Call for submissions – Country visit to Italy
Deadline: 30 September 2021

Right to benefit from scientific progress and its applications
(Français | Español)
Deadline: 31 March 2021

Call for submissions - Impact analysis of the International Maritime Organization (IMO)
Deadline: 31 March 2021

Questionnaire addressed to Governments - Impact analysis of the International Maritime Organization (IMO)
PDF: English | Français | Español

Call for submissions - The lifecycle of plastics and human rights
Deadline: 21 April 2021

Activities

Virtual Side events:
 
The Right to Science in the context of toxic substances  
Wednesday, Sep 22  2021   3.30 PM  - 5:00 PM 
(UTC+02:00) Amsterdam, Berlin, Bern, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna 
Registration

Plastics and Human Rights 
Thursday, Sep 23 2021 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM 
(UTC+02:00) Amsterdam, Berlin, Bern, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna 
Registration

Joint researchath on on “sacrifice zones and human rights”
English | Español
Deadline: 31 August 2021

Other letter (OL), EU Parliament, ban of export of pesticides prohibited at the EU level, 21 June 2021
OTH 202/2021
(English)

Other letter (OL), EU Presidency, ban of export of pesticides prohibited at the EU level, 21 June 2021
OTH 203/2021 (English)

Other letter (OL), European Commission, ban of export of pesticides prohibited at the EU level, 21 June 2021
OTH 201/2021 (English)

Joint researchathon on “sacrifice zones and human rights”
English | Español
Deadline: 31 August 2021

COLOMBIA, fumigation, Amicus Curiae, 12 April 2021 (Español)

Submission to ICCM5 High-level Declaration 19.02.2021

Other Letter, COLOMBIA fracking, 19 February 2021 (Español)

Other Letter, GERMANY pesticides, 9 February 2021

Statement to Expert Group on Marine Litter and Microplastics (AHEG-4)
13 November 2020

Statement by UN experts on landmark environmental treaty in Latin America and the Caribbean
9 November 2020

Interactive dialogue on duty to prevent exposure to COVID-19
21 September 2020

Letters to States urging ratification of Basel Ban Amendment
5 December 2019

Resolution on workers’ protection adopted at HRC 42 (A/HRC/RES/42/21)
8 October 2019

Amicus Curiae on Colombian Fumigation case (Español)

Amicus brief in Norwegian climate change case

Amicus brief Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz et. al. v. Switzerland

Amicus brief Duarte Agostinho and Others v. Portugal and 32 Others

Former mandate holders

Mr. Baskut Tuncak (Turkey/USA)
2014-2020

Mr. Marc Pallemaerts (Belgium)
2012-2014

Mr. Calin Georgescu (Romania)
2010-2012

Mr. Okechukwu Ibeanu (Nigeria)
2004-2010

Ms. Fatma Zohra Ouhachi-Vesely (Algeria)
1995-2004


Special Procedures
Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights
Recent Thematic Reports
Issues in Focus
Contact information

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

OHCHR-UNOG
Avenue Giuseppe Motta 48,
CH-1202 Geneva
Switzerland
Fax : +41 22 917 90 06
E-mail: srtoxicshr@ohchr.org

Follow the Special Rapporteur on Twitter: @SRtoxics

To subscribe to or unsubscribe from the Special Rapporteur's newsletter, please email srtoxicshr@ohchr.org with “newsletter” in the subject line.

Others involved
External links