31/12/15Wastewater Services 

Sanitation acknowledged as a stand-alone human right

December 30th, 2015
AquaFed welcomes the news release by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights highlighting that the human right to sanitation is now recognized as a stand-alone human right. Read the news release. 

The General Assembly of the UN has adopted a resolution in December 2015 that: “recognizes the distinct nature of the right to sanitation in relation to the right to safe drinking water, while keeping the rights together.” 

UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, Léo Heller (OHCHR website) said it will help governments and NGOs to specifically focus on what needs to be done to put into practice the right.

“It is hoped that this will have a direct impact on those women, children, people with disabilities and marginalised individuals and groups who currently lack access to sanitation…an opportunity to highlight their plight,” he said.

In the past, sanitation was too often treated as the orphan of the human right to water. However, one third of the world population does not have its right to sanitation implemented. As the UN recalls, 2.5 billion people live in conditions where access to sanitation is precarious. In addition, worldwide over 1 billion people are forced to practice

open defecation.

The resolution highlights the important contributions that both public and private sector can make and the need to ensure that all water and sanitation service providers effectively respect the human rights. Member States are the principal duty bearers and have to take action to implement progressively the human right water and the human right to sanitation without any discrimination. 


(Picture: Chile; wastewater management challenges)