22 Sep 2023
Venue: Palais des Nations, Room XXV & Online | YouTube
On the sidelines of 54th Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC54), this year’s Toxic Free Talks will take place from 20 to 22 September — three days of conferences and discussions, highlighting the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights, and of organizations in the struggle for the right to live in a toxic-free environment. This side event to HRC54 discussed the need to develop a human rights-based analysis of IMO processes and ensure adequate incorporation of the human rights perspective into its stream of work.
About this Event
The work of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has always been relevant to human rights, considering the close connection between shipping and the environment and human beings. Various IMO treaties implicitly protect and promote human rights through their policies on the environment and the human element, and other IMO treaties explicitly do so.
Nevertheless, IMO and the shipping industry still face a number of human rights and environmental challenges, such as oil and toxic spills harming coastal communities; air emissions from vessels adversely affecting port cities and contributing to climate change; shipbreaking (and especially beaching of end-of-life vessels) releasing persistent hazardous pollutants to the environment; seafarers being exposed to hazardous working conditions; and transport of hazardous cargo posing risks to crew and the environment. Shipping thus impacts the enjoyment of a range of human rights.
However, IMO remains largely unknown to the human rights community, and there is little indication that the shipping industry considers human rights at the level of the existing relevance to its work. Therefore, following the report of the Special Rapporteur on his visit to the organization, it is urgent to develop a human rights-based analysis of IMO processes and ensure adequate incorporation of the human rights perspective into its stream of work.
About the Geneva Toxic Free Talks
The Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights reports every fall to the Council and to the UN General Assembly on issues related to his mandate. The Geneva Toxic Free Talks aim to harness the opportunity of this moment of the year to reflect on the challenges posed by the production, use, and dissemination of toxics and on how Geneva contributes to bringing together the actors working in reversing the toxic tide.
On the sidelines of HRC54, this year’s Toxic Free Talks will take place from 20 to 22 September — three days of conferences and discussions, highlighting the work of the Special Rapporteur and of organizations in the struggle for the right to live in a toxic-free environment.
UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights
Deputy Director, Sub-Division for Protective Measures, Marine Environment Division, International Maritime Organization
Programme Officer, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat
Founder & Director, NGO Shipbreaking Platform
Associate Professor, Specialist of Labour Relations | Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development (CSEND)
Senior Researcher, Asia Division and Global Health Initiative, Human Rights Watch
Senior Shipping Policy Officer, Seas at Risk
Representative of Earthjustice to the United Nations in Geneva | Moderator
Live on Webex
Live in the Room