Issues in Focus
The Special Rapporteur on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation is a global advocate for the full realisation of the rights to water and sanitation. Among other tasks, she conducts research on various themes and presents reports on these issues annually to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly. Up until now she has done research on the following issues:
The report focuses on good for the implementation of the rights to water and sanitation of a range of stakeholders, including State bodies (national and local), international agencies, service providers, nongovernmental organizations and civil society, and covers many approaches to realizing the rights to water and sanitation, including legislation, planning, service delivery, advocacy and capacity-building, monitoring and litigation.
The report examines different manifestations of stigma, and situates it in the human rights framework considering, in particular, human dignity, the human rights to water and sanitation, non-discrimination, the prohibition of inhumane or degrading treatment and the right to privacy. It explores recommendations for policy making and solutions to prevent and respond to human rights violations resulting from stigma.
In 2013, the Special Rapporteur will prepare a report on the issues of sustainability and non-retrogression in the realization of the human rights to water and sanitation. The report will be presented to the Human Rights Council in September 2013.
In 2013, the Special Rapporteur will prepare a report on the issues of water resources and wastewater management from the perspective of human rights. The report will be presented to the General Assembly in October 2013.
The report focuses on the human rights obligations and responsibilities which apply in cases of non-State service provision of water and sanitation. She begins with an overview of the role that non-State service providers play in delivering water and sanitation throughout the world. She continues by outlining the human rights obligations of States and the responsibilities of non-State service providers and highlights three main areas where challenges can be faced in this regard: decision-making, operation of services, and accountability and enforcement. The Special Rapporteur emphasizes that the human rights framework does not express a preference over models of service provision, but insists that in all instances, the human rights to water and sanitation be guaranteed. The final section of the report contains conclusions and recommendations.
The report focuses on the human rights obligations related to sanitation. After reviewing the inextricable links between sanitation and a range of human rights, the Special Rapporteur concludes that an analysis of sanitation in a human rights context must go beyond linking it to other human rights, because this would fail to fully capture all of the dimensions of sanitation. She suggests that, although there is an ongoing discussion on whether sanitation should be recognized as a distinct right, recent developments at the international, regional and national levels demonstrate a trend towards recognition; specifically, considering the right to sanitation as an explicit component of the right to an adequate standard of living. While opinions may differ on whether to recognize sanitation as a distinct right, the Special Rapporteur asserts that there are clear human rights obligations related to sanitation because it is inextricably linked to, and indispensable for, the realization of many other human rights. She outlines a definition of sanitation in human rights terms, and explains the human rights obligations related to sanitation, as well as the content of those obligations. The report ends with conclusions and recommendations.
The report emphasizes three points: that the new agenda can only advance through integrating non-discrimination and equality, that a global and generic stand-alone goal on equality must be adopted and that water, sanitation and hygiene must have a specific goal, target and indicators, on equal footing with other key priority areas for development.
This paper seeks to unpack these challenging premises as the basis for a set of conclusions and forward-looking recommendations on how to promote greater legal and policy coherence in the human rights and climate change fields. The paper begins by examining the relationship between the international legal regimes governing climate change and the human rights to water and sanitation, focusing in a schematic fashion upon the contours and content of the legal obligations relating to each. Drawing from this analysis and recent findings in the empirical literature, Part C discusses the various respects in which the human rights to water and sanitation may be undermined by climate change, whether or not this also may constitute a legal violation. Part D then outlines a range of priorities and possibly entry points for strengthening legal and policy coherence in climate change and human rights negotiations and policy-making, with a focus on water and sanitation. Conclusions and key recommendations are summarised in Part E.