India: official visit by the UN expert on safe drinking water and sanitation
GENEVA (24 October 2017) – United Nations human rights expert, Léo Heller, will visit India from 27 October to 10 November 2017 to examine the extent to which people’s rights to safe drinking water and sanitation are being realized.
“I will look at how human rights to water and sanitation are legally recognized and implemented in India at the national, state and local level, and how the provision of water and sanitation services adheres to human rights standards and principles,” said Mr. Heller, the independent expert charged by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on the realization of the human rights to water and sanitation worldwide.
The Special Rapporteur will gather information and testimony on the availability, accessibility, affordability, acceptability and safety of drinking water and sanitation, with a particular focus on groups such as women and girls, persons with disabilities, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and those living in informal settlements and rural areas.
The human rights expert, who will visit the country at the invitation of the Government of India, will meet government representatives at national and local level as well as civil society and community organizations, residents in urban and rural areas, and UN officials.
He will visit the cities of Imphal, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and New Delhi, as well as urban peripheries and rural areas.
“I want to explore what still needs to be undertaken to ensure the human rights to water and sanitation are enjoyed by all in India,” Mr. Heller noted.
At the end of his two-week visit, the Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary observations at a press conference on Friday 10 November 2017 at 10:00 local time in the UN Conference Hall, UN House, 55 Lodi Estate, New Delhi-110003. Access will be strictly limited to members of the press.
Mr. Heller will submit a full report of his findings and recommendations to the 39th session of the Human Rights Council in September 2018.
Mr. Léo Heller (Brazil) is the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, appointed in November 2014. He is a researcher in the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Brazil and was previously Professor of the Department of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil from 1990 to 2014.
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 organization and serve in their individual capacity.
UN Human Rights country page – India
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