Over 21-31 January 2007 the Government of Ukraine hosted the fact-finding mission by Mr. Okechukwu Ibeanu, the UN Special Rapporteur on the adverse effects of the illicit movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights. The mission was conducted in close cooperation between the Government of Ukraine and the United Nations Country Team in Ukraine.

During his mission, the UN Special Rapporteur met with the representatives of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Emergencies, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, parliamentarians, legislators, civil society and UN agencies in Ukraine. To get first-hand information on the situation throughout the country, Mr. Ibeanu visited Lviv, Uzhgorod, Novy Rozdil, Beregovo and such villages as Velyka Bakta, Muzhievo and Shom of Beregovo district on 23-25 January, where he discussed the situation with the illicit dumping of toxic and dangerous products in the regions with the local authorities and civil society organizations.

“Everyone agrees that Ukraine faces important environmental challenges resulting from the presence of significant quantities of toxic and dangerous products and wastes a consequence notably of the large Soviet era industrial sector as well as from huge stockpiles of obsolete pesticides. Imports of toxic wastes, the issue which I examined most closely, while posing significant challenges only add to the existing problems the country is facing in the area of protection of the environment,” Mr Ibeanu stated at a press conference at UN House.

The UN Special Rapporteur highlighted the need to provide full information about the existing toxic wastes and other dangerous products to the public. “I believe that access to information regarding environmental issues and their potential consequences for human rights requires some improvement. Furthermore, I believe that providing full information on these issues will contribute to further improving the existing trust and understanding between the Government and civil society on environmental issues,” he added.

In conclusion, Mr. Ibeanu said that despite funding and availability of adequate technologies to treat toxic products, “there was an urgent need to limit the quantity of toxic and dangerous products and wastes present on the territory of Ukraine, by implementing all the necessary measures to put an end to any further import”.

On the basis of the information gathered during meetings and on-site visits, the Special Rapporteur will develop recommendations and present report on the mission to the United Nations Human Rights Council.


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