21 February 2006 More than a year after the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami, a senior United Nations official is travelling in Indonesia and India this week to assess the recovery effort and look at what's being done to provide shelter for the victims displaced by the disaster.
A UN spokesman in New York said today that Eric Schwartz, Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, would then travel to Geneva after his fact-finding mission to discuss human rights-related aspects of the recovery effort with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Earlier this month, Miloon Kothari, an independent Special Rapporteur for the UN Human Rights Commission said that a study showed that Governments in the tsunami-hit region had failed to uphold the human rights to food, health, housing and livelihood of their most vulnerable citizens in the aftermath of the 2004 disaster.
“Ninety per cent of the people are still living in sub-standard housing,” said Mr. Kothari, referring to the 1.8 million to 2.5 million people displaced when the tsunami hit on 26 December. The tsunami killed more than 230,000 people and affected more than 12 countries in Asia.
Mr. Kothari wrote a forward to a 64-page report, titled “Tsunami Response: A Human Rights Assessment,” and this was sent to the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Tsunami-affected Countries, former United States President Bill Clinton, at the start of this month.