The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and hazardous substances and wastes, Baskut Tuncak, today issued a press release calling 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. He noted that the State has an obligation to generate, assess, update and disseminate information about hazardous substances, and businesses have a responsibility respect human rights, including effectively communicating information. “This chemical disaster serves as yet another tragic example of the need of information about hazardous substances to protect, respect and realize human rights,” the expert stated.
“The lack of information when needed—information that could have mitigated or perhaps even prevented this disaster—is truly tragic,” he stressed. “Moreover, 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 it risks increasing the number of victims of this disaster.”