Video: Human rights experts call for immediate action to protect the right to health of citizens affected by the nuclear accident in Fukushima

Anand Grover, Esq., UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, criticizes UNSCEAR report on Fukushima

October 24, 2013
New York City, New York
Baha’i International Community, 866 UN Plaza, Suite 120, NYC.

Human rights experts call for immediate action to protect the right to health of citizens affected by the nuclear accident in Fukushima.

Doctors Say UN science report systematically underestimates health impact of Fukushima catastrophe

Physicians for Social Responsibility & Human Rights Now present:

WHAT: Two conflicting reports on Fukushima – one by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health and the other by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) will be presented to the UN General Assembly on October 25, at the 3rd and 4th Committees of the UN General Assembly respectively. Mr. Grover, the Special Rapporteur, will speak about his report, and Dr. Rachow will discuss a PSR/IPPNW critique of the UNSCEAR report and how it can be strengthened. Ms. Inoue, a representative from HRN, will discuss the human rights concerns regarding conditions in Japan. The wider global implications of these reports will also be highlighted.

Since the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, individuals and communities in Japan continue to be exposed to dangerous levels of radioactivity. There are serious concerns about consequent health effects for citizens in contaminated areas. Residents have a right to live in a safe and healthy environment, however, sufficient protective measures and support are not being provided. The right of access to medical treatment and medical data about one’s own body are being seriously denied. Experts will speak about how two UN reports impact policy regarding the lives and health of citizens currently affected after the nuclear disaster, and what should be done to provide immediate relief to protect their fundamental rights.

A Q&A session will follow the presentations.

Mr. Anand Grover, Esq.
Mr. Anand Grover, appointed by the UN Human Rights Council at its eighth session in June 2008, is the UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The position is honorary and he is not a member of staff at the United Nations and is not paid for his work. He is also a practicing attorney in the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court of India.

From November 15th to 26th, 2012, Mr. Grover was on an in country mission to Japan, to conduct an independent investigation on issues related to the enjoyment of the right to health, including availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of health services, goods and facilities. Additional aspects investigated included, the underlying determinants of health in Japan within the context of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the events leading to it (including the emergency response, recovery and mitigation with a particular focus on challenges and actions taken in response to them), as well as lessons learned and good practices. The mission involved meetings with Japanese government officials, non-governmental organizations, and local citizens affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. Mr. Grover’s report on his findings and recommendations was submitted to the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in May 2013, and will be reported to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly in New York on October 25, 2013.

Dr. John Rachow, Ph.D., M.D.
Dr. Rachow is a practicing physician, Board Member & Chair of the Radiation and Health Committee, and Past President (2011) of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Washington, DC. He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor of University of Iowa, Department of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.

Mari Inoue, Esq.
Mari Inoue, Esq., is a practicing lawyer and New York representative of Human Rights Now, Tokyo, Japan.


On 10/24/2013, Human Rights Now, along with 64 other Japanese civil society organizations, issued a statement requesting the UNSCEAR and the General Assembly Fourth Committee to revise the report and its finding from a human rights perspective. You can read this letter online here.

Please refer to PSR’s more detailed commentary : Critique of UNSCEAR October 2013 Fukushima Report (Contact: (PSR USA), (IPPNW Germany) for the PSR/IPPNW commentary.)