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

A Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. This position is honorary and the expert is not United Nations staff nor paid for his/her work. The Special Rapporteurs are part of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.

For more on Special Rapporteurs, please refer to Fact Sheet N° 27: Seventeen Frequently Asked Questions about United Nations Special Rapporteurs.

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 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.

Publications



NEW! 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

Cover: Tools for transformation: Affordability of services for allTools for transformation: Affordability of services for all
English | French | Spanish
Cover: ender equality in the Human Rights to Water and SanitationTools for transformation: Gender equality in the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation
English | French | Spanish
Cover: Ending InequalitiesEnding Inequalities: A priority for accomplishing Sustainable Development Goal 6, and many others
English | French | Spanish
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 sanitationLegal Obligations with Tangible Benefits on the rights to water and sanitation
English | French | Spanish
Realising the human rights to water and sanitation: A handbook Realising the human rights to water and sanitation: A handbook
English | French | Spanish | Portuguese | Arabic
Fact Sheet 35 - The Right to Water Fact Sheet on the right to water
Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | 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)

Latest news


More press releases and statements

Archived news
(over 3 years old)

Announcement

Call for input – visit to India

Activities page updated (as of 25 July 2017)

July newsletter

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