The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and hazardous substances and wastes, Baskut Tuncak, today called on the Government of China and relevant businesses to ensure complete transparency in the investigation of the chemical disaster in Tianjin, including both causes and effects of the explosion. http://sm.ohchr.org/1JqB3Hr
“The Chinese authorities should also assess whether China’s laws for hazardous substances and wastes are consistent with international human rights standards, including the right to information,” said Mr. Tuncak, who will present a special report on the right to information in the context of hazardous substances to the UN Human Rights Council on 16 September.
The Special Rapporteur noted that, under international human rights standards, the State has an obligation to generate, assess, update and disseminate information about hazardous substances, and businesses have a responsibility to respect human rights, including effectively communicating information. He further observed that the reported restrictions on public access to health and safety information and freedom of the press in the aftermath are “deeply disturbing”, particularly to the extent they risk increasing the number of victims of this disaster.