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

Introduction

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 rights 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. Mr. Léo Heller was appointed in November 2014, and began his work on the mandate  on 1 December 2014.

Announcement

NEW! Special Rapporteur speaks about water and sanitation management models and regulation of services at VI Foro de la Economía del Agua (See video)

NEW! Development cooperation report (A/72/127) is now available

Open Letter to WHO/UNICEF JMP and Response from WHO/UNICEF JMP

Call for input – visit to India

Videos

Video 1 - on the mandate
Video 2 - on the HR to water
Video 3 - on the HR to sanitation
Video 4 - on the SDGs

Publications


Cover: Tools for transformation: Service RegulationCover: Tools for transformation: Affordability of services for allCover: Gender equality in the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation
Tools for transformation: Service Regulation
English | French | Spanish
Tools for transformation: Affordability of services for all
English | French | Spanish
Tools for transformation: Gender equality in the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation
English | French | Spanish

Previous publications

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Special Rapporteur

Mr. Léo Heller
(Brazil) since 2014 

Contact: srwatsan@ohchr.org

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Former Special Rapporteur

Ms. Catarina de Albuquerque 
(former Independent Expert)
2008-2014