Monday, October 4, 2010

A Human Right to Water and Sanitation

The UN Human Rights Council has affirmed that the right to water and sanitation is contained in existing human rights treaties, and that States have the primary responsibility to ensure the full realisation of this and all other basic human rights.  It is the first time that the Human Rights Council has declared itself on the issue.

Almost 900 million people worldwide do not have access to clean water and more than 2.6 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation. Studies also indicate about 1.5 million children under the age of five die each year and 443 million school days are lost because of water- and sanitation-related diseases.

A General Assembly resolution adopted earlier this year recognized the fundamental right to clean water and sanitation, but did not specify that the right entailed legally binding obligations.  The Human Rights Council closed this gap by clarifying the foundation for recognition of the right and the applicable legal standards.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

Click here for more information about the UN Human Rights Council.


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