Tuesday, December 22, 2015
On December 17, the UN General Assembly recognized that "the human right to sanitation entitles everyone, without discrimination, to have physical and affordable access to sanitation, in all spheres of life, that is safe, hygienic, secure, socially and culturally acceptable and that provides privacy and ensures dignity." Over 2.5 billion people in the world lack sanitation access. Leo Heller, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Water, hailed the consensus resolution (70/169), which recognizes the human right to sanitation as a distinct right, as "a significant step." Human Rights groups also praised the resolution as a much-needed clarification and a step forward in fulfilling the "right to an adequate standard of living." Among other things, the resolution includes recognition of the gender-specific human rights impact of inadequate water and sanitation.