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Welcome to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation

First official visit to Brazil by the UN Special Rapporteur on water and sanitation

GENEVA / BRASILIA (5 December 2013) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Catarina de Albuquerque will visit Brazil from 9 to 19 December 2013 to assess the country’s developments and remaining challenges toward the realization of the human rights to water and sanitation.

This will be the first official mission to Brazil by an independent expert charged by the UN Human Rights Council with monitoring, reporting and advising on the status of realization of the right to safe drinking water and sanitation worldwide.

“Brazil has been implementing a variety of programs and policies towards providing safe drinking water and sanitation for everyone,” Ms. Albuquerque said. “I want to look at those practices, examine possible successes, but also challenges they might be facing from a human rights perspective, by particularly focusing on the most deprived and marginalized people in society.”

The human rights expert will pay special attention to the situation of people living in informal settlements and rural areas, including those affected by the drought. She will also assess cases of water pollution and wastewater treatment in urban areas.

“As human rights, all people, without discrimination, must have access to safe drinking water and sanitation, which is affordable, acceptable, available and safe,” Ms. de Albuquerque said. “States must continually take steps to ensure that access to these fundamental rights is guaranteed.”

The Special Rapporteur, who is visiting the country at the invitation of Brazilian authorities, will meet with representatives from the Government, as well as from international organizations, civil society and communities in Brasília, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Fortaleza and Belém do Pará.

At the end of her ten-day visit, Ms. de Albuquerque will share with the media the preliminary findings of her mission and initial recommendations at a press conference on 19 December at 11:00 am, at the premises of the UNDP Brasilia.

Based on the information obtained during the mission, the Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report to a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council, which will include her final findings and recommendations to the Government of Brazil.

Catarina de Albuquerque is the first UN Special Rapporteur on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation. She was appointed by the Human Rights Council in 2008. Ms. de Albuquerque is a Professor at the Law Faculties of the Universities of Braga, Coimbra and of the American University’s Washington College of Law. She is a senior legal advisor at the Prosecutor General’s Office. Learn more, log on to:

UN Human Rights, country page – Brazil: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/LACRegion/Pages/BRIndex.aspx

For more information and press inquiries, please contact:
In Brasilia: Denise Hauser (+55 61 8188 0422 / dhauser@ohchr.org)
In Geneva: Madoka Saji (+41 79 201 0124 / msaji@ohchr.org) or write to srwatsan@ohchr.org

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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