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Global Toxics & Human Rights Project

Advancing a human rights approach to the sound management of toxic and hazardous waste.

A joint initiative with the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law and Program on Environmental and Energy Law, the Global Toxics & Human Rights Project leverages partnerships with a broad coalition of stakeholders to provide technical assistance, strategic planning, case support, advocacy, awareness raising, and standard setting. The Project also builds on American University Washington College of Law's (AUWCL) specialized knowledge and experience in environmental justice and supporting UN mandates to enrich the work of UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights professor, Marcos Orellana.

Highlights of Our Work

CALL FOR INPUTS! UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights calls for submission in advance of his visit to aUSTRALIA

a hand holding a pan pouring mercury into bottle

Marcos Orellana, the Special Rapporteur on human rights and toxics, will undertake an official visit to Australia from 28 August to 08 September 2023 at the invitation of the Government of Australia and will issue a report summarizing the visit and including recommendations will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2023.

The Special Rapporteur would like to invite all interested individuals and organizations working on issues related to toxics and human rights and implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes concerning Ghana. 

 Click here to find out more.

OPED: UN Special Rapporteur warns against coal and nuclear power

30 November 2022:  Using coal and nuclear power is the wrong way forward for Germany, warns UN Special Rapporteur Marcos Orellana. The health risks for people are too great, he says. These technologies create devastating climate impacts and toxic pollution that hurts people and the planet. Instead, Germany must double down on renewable energy investment.

Click here to view English translation of the article.

Global Toxics Project Presents Accessible Versions of UN Reports

Every year, the UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights, Marcos Orellana, presents two reports on a thematic report of his choosing: one to the UN General Assembly and another to the UN General Assembly. Each report contains in-depth research on a specific topic related to toxics and includes a series of concrete conclusions and recommendations for States, businesses, or the international community. To make these reports accessible to the widest audience, the Global Toxics & Human Rights Project has published online summaries of reports on mercury and small-scale gold mining; the impacts of toxics on Indigenous Peoples; the cycle of plastics and human rights; and the right to science in the context of toxics.

Click here to view the online summaries of reports from the UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights

CAll for inputs The toxic impacts of some climate change solutions - new deadline 06 march 2023

Picture of Marcos Orellana speaking

States and companies are rallying to build new technologies and innovations to reduce greenhouse gases. And yet, we are seeing proposals for, and application of, climate mitigation technologies that have the potential to exacerbate toxic pollution.

Click here for more information

Keep Up with the Global Toxics Project

"Boy Walking Beside Wetlands West of Dunes, Great Sand Dunes National Park" by Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

Announcing the Innaugural Newsletter of the Global Toxics & Human Rights Project!

The Global Toxics & Human Rights Project is proud to release its inaugural newsletter. You will hear from Dr. Orellana, Special Rapporteur on human rights and toxics, detailing progress we have made in our advocacy for human rights protections regarding toxic and hazardous substances and wastes and the ways you can engage with the Project.