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Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation

Introduction

Access to safe driking and sanitation - credit Rachel Faigniez Having access to safe drinking water and sanitation is central to living a life in dignity and upholding human rights. Yet billions of people still do not enjoy these fundamental rights.

The rights to water and sanitation require that these are available, accessible, safe, acceptable and affordable for all without discrimination. These elements are clearly interrelated. While access to water may be guaranteed in theory, in reality, if it is too expensive, people do not have access. Women will not use sanitation facilities which are not maintained or are not sex segregated. Having a tap which delivers unsafe water does not improve one’s access. Human rights demand a holistic understanding of access to water and sanitation.

The rights to water and sanitation further require an explicit focus on the most disadvantaged and marginalized, as well as an emphasis on participation, empowerment, accountability and transparency. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation was established to examine these crucial issues and provide recommendations to Governments, to the United Nations and other stakeholders. Ms. Catarina de Albuquerque was appointed in September 2008, and began her work on the mandate in November 2008.

Publications



Realising the human rights to water and sanitation: A handbook

Download electronic copies of the Handbook


Frequently Asked Questions on the rights to water and sanitation Frequently Asked Questions on the rights to water and sanitation
English | French | Spanish
"Legal Obligations with Tangible Benefits on the rights to water and sanitation Legal Obligations with Tangible Benefits on the rights to water and sanitation
English | French | Spanish
Cover: Ending Inequalities: A cornerstone of the post-2015 development agenda Ending Inequalities: A cornerstone of the post-2015 development agenda
English | French | Spanish
Book "On the Right Track"

Book on good practices in the realisation of the rights to water and sanitation
Available in English | French | Spanish
(PDF)

Fact Sheet 35 - The Right to Water Fact Sheet on the right to water
Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish
   

Latest news


More press releases and statements

Highlights

HRC side-event and Handbook launch on 10 September 2014 at 16:00: “The human rights to water and sanitation: Tools for their realization and remedies for violations”, Room XXVII at Palais de Nations, Geneva (see background note on the Handbook)

Open letter from the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation to all United Nations Member States: Human rights are key to ensure an ambitious post-2015 development framework

NEW VIDEO - How the Special Rapporteur conducts a country visit: Brazil

Call for submissions: Human Rights Council and General Assembly reports

Kick off for the human rights to water and sanitation 

Latest reports

2014 Reports now available

 

Special Rapporteur

Ms. Catarina de Albuquerque 
(former Independent Expert)
since 2008
Contact: srwatsan@ohchr.org