Tuesday, July 21, 2009
News from the Ecumenical Water Network
The UN Independent Expert on human rights obligations and water and sanitation, Ms Catarina de Albuquerque, has submitted her report on sanitation to the UN Human Rights Council for its next session in September.
In her report, the Independent Expert reviews the inextricable links between sanitation and a range of human rights, such as the rights to an adequate standard of living, to health, and to education. She outlines a definition of sanitation in human rights terms, and elaborates the content of human rights obligations related to sanitation.
While Ms. Albuquerque acknowledges the ongoing discussion about whether a ‘right to sanitation’ exists or not, she concludes that “only looking at sanitation through the lens of other human rights does not do justice to its special nature, and its importance for living a dignified life. [… The] independent expert supports the current trend of recognizing sanitation as a distinct right.”
Ms. Albuquerque gives a number of recommendations with regard to the contents of human rights obligations in the context of sanitation, stressing among other aspects the elimination of “inequalities based on wealth, sex and location” and calling for both states and international institutions to prioritize sanitation in their strategies and budgets.
The Independent Expert will present the report to the UN Human Rights Council in its 12th session, 7-25 September 2009. The report is already now available in English at the Independent Expert’s website http://www2.ohchr.org/english/
A brief statement on the Independent Expert’s visit to Egypt from 21-28 June 2009 has also been posted on the above-mentioned website.