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UN expert to examine Brazil’s record on hazardous substances and waste

​Portuguese version

GENEVA (2 December 2019) – UN human rights expert Baskut Tuncak will visit Brazil from 2 to 13 December 2019 to assess the country’s human rights record in relation to hazardous substances and wastes.

“I consider Brazil as a country with significant opportunities in relation to its duties on toxic pollution and hazardous waste, including the duty to prevent exposure,” said Tuncak.

“Extractive industries will be a particular focus during my visit. I have engaged with the Brazilian Government on various occasions about the tailings dam collapses at the iron ore mines at Córrego do Feijão in Brumadinho and Fundão in Mariana, and I anticipate more in-depth discussions with various stakeholders.”

The expert’s two-week visit will include stops in Brasilia, and the states of Minas Gerais, Maranhao, and Pernambuco. He will meet representatives of the Government, civil society, and the business community.

“This visit will also involve discussions concerning the agricultural sectors, particularly the hazards of agrochemicals to health and the environment,” said Tuncak, Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes (toxics).

“In addition, air pollution, including greenhouse gases, particulate matter and other substances from the Amazon rainforest fires, as well as water pollution following the oil spill in north-eastern Brazil will be examined.

“I look forward to learning about both progress and challenges for the exercise of the rights to life, health, information and an effective remedy, among others, in relation to hazardous substances and wastes.”

Tuncak will hold a press conference on 13 December 2019 at 14:00 local time at UN House in Brasilia, North Embassy Sector Sergio Vieira de Mello Complex Lote 17 - Asa Norte, Brasília - DF, 70800-922, where he will share his preliminary observations. Access will be strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report with his findings and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2020.


Mr. Baskut Tuncak 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 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 organisation and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights country page: Brazil

For more information and media requests please contact:

In Brazil (during the visit): Ms. Angela Pires Terto (apires@ohchr.org) or Mr. Alvin Gachie (+41 79 444 41 87; agachie@ohchr.org)

In Geneva after the visit Mr. Alvin Gachie (+41 22 917 99 71; agachie@ohchr.org) or write to srtoxics@ohchr.org

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

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

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