Marcos Orellana is the director of the Center’s Global Toxics and Human Rights Project. In this role, Dr. Orellana works with partners worldwide to advance a rights-based approach to the sound management of chemicals and wastes. He is an expert in international law and the law on human rights and the environment. In July 2020, the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Dr. Orellana the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Toxics and Human Rights.
His practice as legal advisor has included work with United Nations agencies, governments, and non-governmental organizations, including on wastes and chemicals issues at the Basel and Minamata conventions, the UN Environment Assembly, and the Human Rights Council. He has intervened in cases before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, and the World Trade Organization's Appellate Body. Dr. Orellana’s practice in the climate space includes representing the eight-nation Independent Association of Latin America and the Caribbean in the negotiations of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. He has also served as senior legal advisor to the Presidency of the 25th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Dr. Orellana has extensive experience working with civil society around the world on issues concerning global environmental justice. He was the inaugural director of the Environment and Human Rights Division at Human Rights Watch. Previously, he directed the trade and the human rights programs at the Center for International Environmental Law, and he co-chaired the UN Environment Program's civil society forum.
Dr. Orellana teaches International Law at the American University Washington College of Law and International Environmental Law at the George Washington University School of Law. He has also lectured in prominent universities around the world, including Melbourne, Pretoria, Geneva, and Guadalajara. He has been a fellow at the University of Cambridge, a visiting scholar with the Environmental Law Institute in Washington D.C., and an instructor professor of International Law at the Universidad de Talca, Chile. His research interests include the role of global interests in shaping and operationalizing global obligations, the interface between climate change and human rights, and the right to a healthy environment.
B.A., J.D. (equivalent), Catholic University of Chile
LL.M. in International Legal Studies, American University Washington College of Law
S.J.D. in International Law, American University Washington College of Law