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Japan urged to heed people’s voices after nuclear disaster

UN expert urges Japan to heed people’s voices in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster

Tokyo / Geneva, 26 November 2012 – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Anand Grover, concluded his mission to Japan today by stressing the importance of monitoring the effects of nuclear radiation on people’s health. Commending the Government of Japan for undertaking a health management survey in Fukushima, Mr. Grover urged it to expand the survey to all radiation-affected zones and carry out more comprehensive studies that would examine and monitor internal radiation exposure of people in the long-term.

Mr. Grover warned about troubling concerns that affected residents “have had no say in decisions that affect them” at the end of his first mission to Japan - from 15 to 26 November – to assess the links between the right to health of the affected people and the actions taken in the aftermath of the worst man-made nuclear accident in the country.

The Special Rapporteur charged by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor the enjoyment of the right to health stressed that the right to health framework requires that “the affected people in Japan need to be part of the decision-making process as well as of the implementation, monitoring and accountability procedures”.

He also highlighted that the participation of the affected community can produce benefits such as building confidence in the Government, facilitating the implementation of those decisions, and improving monitoring and accountability.

The human rights expert pointed out that the forthcoming implementation of the parliamentary act on the protection and support for victims of nuclear disaster, adopted in June 2012, was a perfect opportunity for the Government to formulate “the basic policy and subordinate regulations with the full participation of the affected communities, including vulnerable groups”.

During his eleven-day visit to the country, at the invitation of the Government, the independent expert travelled beyond Tokyo to Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures to meet with different stakeholders, including Government officials, medical practitioners, legal experts, civil society, community representatives and affected residents.

The UN Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report on his visit to Japan at a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in June 2013.

The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to help States, and others, promote and protect the right to the highest attainable standard of health (right to health). Anand Grover (India) is co-founder and Director of the Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit and the Senior Counsel in India. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Health/Pages/SRRightHealthIndex.aspx

OHCHR Country page – Japan: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/JPIndex.aspx

ENDS

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