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Issue 21
January , 2010
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UN to probe violations in India's shipbreaking, e-waste businesses

Source: Business Standard, New Delhi, Date: January , 2010

India’s alleged eco-unfriendly and labour-unfriendly policies, particularly in shipbreaking activities in Gujarat and on e-waste
disposal, are going to be probed from next week, when the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur Okechukwu Ibeanu undertakes a fact-finding mission. Okechukwu is tasked to oversee “the adverse effects of the movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights”. He will make a detailed assessment on problems linked “to the unsound management and disposal of hazardous products and wastes, including electronic waste (e-waste) and their effects on human rights”. “I intend to focus on the adverse effects that shipbreaking activities may have on the enjoyment of human rights of the countless individuals who work in the shipbreaking yards or live in their close proximity,” said the Special Rapporteur, who reports to the UN Human Rights Council here in Geneva. In addition to shipbreaking activities, the Special Rapporteur intends to examine the risks posed by the unsound management and disposal of e-waste to the human rights of individuals and communities that depend on the recycling of materials contained in obsolete electronic products for their subsistence. “E-waste is one of the most hazardous waste streams worldwide,” stressed the United Nations expert.” Electronics contain over 50 hazardous chemicals or heavy metals that can cause serious health and environmental risks if not disposed in an environmentally safe manner.”

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