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UNITED NATIONS RIGHTS EXPERT TO ASSESS IMPACT OF UNSOUND MANAGEMENT AND DISPOSAL OF TOXIC WASTE IN HUNGARY
2 October 2012

GENEVA / BUDAPEST (2 October 2012) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Calin Georgescu will visit Hungary from 4 to 11 October 2012 to assess the human rights impact of environmentally unsound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes.

“I will examine obstacles in the policy and legal framework relating to chemicals and waste management, and explore alternatives for the protection of people from the adverse impact of these hazardous substances,” said Mr. Georgescu, who will also assess the consequences of the 2010 Ajka aluminium plant incident, which affected hundreds of people, including residents, workers and rescuers, due to the dam break of a toxic red mud reservoir, and efforts by the Government to remedy or mitigate them.

This will be the first information-gathering mission to Hungary by an independent expert charged by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate and report on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management of hazardous substances and wastes.

The Special Rapporteur will explore good practices and challenges in environmental remediation and adequate reparation for victims of industrial incidents, as well as measures adopted to eliminate or diminish the threats that high polluting industries pose to workers and communities.

During his eight-day mission, the expert will hold meetings with a wide range of stakeholders, including Government officials and civil society organizations. The independent expert will visit the communities affected by the Ajka industrial incident, particularly those in Kolontár and Devecser.

Mr. Georgescu will share with the media his preliminary findings and recommendations at a press conference to be held on Thursday 11 October, at 11:00 am at the Hotel Andrassy, Budapest.

Based on information gathered during the visit, the Special Rapporteur will prepare a report containing his conclusions and recommendations and present it to the United Nations Human Rights Council in September 2013.

Calin Georgescu, the Executive Director of the National Centre for Sustainable Development in Bucharest (Romania), was appointed Special Rapporteur in 2011 by the Human Rights Council. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. Learn more: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/environment/waste/index.htm 

UN Human Rights, country page – Hungary: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/HUIndex.aspx

For more information and media inquiries, please contact:
In Geneva (before the visit): Rebaone Ferguson (+41 22 917 9333 / rferguson@ohchr.org) or write to srtoxicwaste@ohchr.org
In Budapest (during the visit): Rebaone Ferguson (+41 (0)79 221 8074)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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For use of the information media; not an official record

HR12/248E