Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Anand Grover*
Summary of communications sent and replies received from governments and other actors
* Owing to its length, the present report is circulated as received.
1. In the context of his mandate, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health receives a large number of communications alleging violations of the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and related rights worldwide. Such communications are received from national, regional and international non-governmental organizations, as well as intergovernmental organizations and other United Nations procedures concerned with the protection of human rights.
2. The present annual report of the Special Rapporteur contains, on a country-by-country basis, summaries of communications sent by the Special Rapporteur to States, responses received from States, observations of the Special Rapporteur, and follow-up communications and activities relating to earlier communications, from the period of 16 March 2009 to 15 March 2010 and replies received for the period of 2 May 2009 to 1 May 2010.
3. Where appropriate, the Special Rapporteur has sent joint urgent appeals or letters with one or more special procedures of the Human Rights Council, where the allegations raised concerned the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health as well as rights addressed under other mandates.
4. During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur sent a total of 64 communications concerning the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health to 34 States and to the Palestinian Authority, and to Newmont Ghana Gold Limited, Addax Petroleum Development, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Conoco Phillips, Hardy Oil Nigeria Limited, Mobil Producing Nigeria, Nexen Petroleum Nigeria Offshore, Philips Oil Co. (Nigeria) Limited, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Statiol Hydro Statoil Nigeria Ltd, Texaco (Nigeria) Plc, and Total E&P Nigeria Limited. Of these 64 communications transmitted, 14 responses were received from Governments, including three replies received in response to communications summarized in the previous communications report (A/HRC/11/12/Add.1), and five responses from other actors.
5. The Special Rapporteur appreciates and thanks the concerned States for these replies. He regrets, however, that many Governments have failed to respond. When Governments have responded, he regrets the selective approach, which does not respond to all the questions arising from the communication. Many communications remain outstanding and the Special Rapporteur encourages Governments to respond to every communication and to all concerns raised in each communication.
6. The Special Rapporteur notes with concern the reports that the mandate continues to receive with regard to threats, harassment and imprisonment of human rights defenders, community representatives and activists working on the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
7. The Special Rapporteur believes in the importance of engaging in a constructive dialogue with States aimed at implementing and realizing the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The communications sent by the Special Rapporteur should be understood in this context. In a spirit of cooperation, the Special Rapporteur urges all States and other actors to respond promptly to the communications, to immediately take appropriate measures, to investigate allegations of the violation of the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and related rights, and to take all steps necessary to redress the situation.
8. To the extent that resources available to the mandate permit, the Special Rapporteur continues to follow up on communications sent and monitor situations where no reply has been received, where the reply received was not considered satisfactory or where questions remain outstanding. The Special Rapporteur also invites the sources that have reported the alleged cases of violations, to review cases and responses included in this report, and send, when appropriate, follow-up information for further consideration of the cases.
208. On 24 July 2009, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health together with the Chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, and the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment sent a joint urgent appeal to the Palestinian Authority regarding Mr. Mohammad Abu Alkhair, a Palestinian national, born on 11 May 1971.
209. Reportedly, Mr. Abu Alkhair was arrested on 23 April 2009 by officials from the Palestinian Preventive Security Service (PSS), the General Intelligence Forces, as well as other unidentified armed men, without a warrant or judicial order and taken to the PSS local compound in the West Bank.
210. Despite a decision of the Palestinian High Court of Justice, dated 12 July 2009, ordering his release, he still remains in detention.
211. According to his family and media reports Mr. Abu Alkhair continues to be detained in solitary confinement and reports about torture or ill treatment have been received. Recently, a prison guard threatened to transfer Mr. Abu Alkhair into another cell with even harsher conditions. His relatives allegedly are allowed visits only for very limited periods of time and under the supervision of the authorities.
212. Mr. Abu Alkhair suffers from diabetes, has heart perturbations and is in need of special nutrition and continuous medical treatment. His family have sent medication to the prison authorities and requested that they be forwarded to Mr. Abu Alkhair, but it is not known whether he is receiving them or if his special dietary needs are observed.
213. Currently, the state of his health, both mental and physical, is rapidly deteriorating. Due to his psychological condition Mr. Abu Alkhair has not been able to communicate with his family during their rare visits.
214. The Special Rapporteur regrets that at the time of the finalization of the report, the Government has not transmitted any reply to his communication.