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United Nations Human Rights Office of the High commissioner
Welcome to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation


Stigmatization in the Realization of the Rights to Water & Sanitation

Stigma, as a deeply entrenched socio-cultural phenomenon, lies at the root of many human rights violations and results in entire population groups being disadvantaged. Stigma can broadly be understood as a process of dehumanizing, discrediting and devaluing people in certain groups, often based on a feeling of disgust. Stigma attaches itself to an attribute, quality or identity that is regarded as “inferior” or “abnormal” and is based on a socially constructed “us” and “them” divide.

The Special Rapporteur focused her 2012 Human Rights Council annual report to stigmatization in the realization of the rights to water and sanitation. 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.

The report is available in all UN languages: E F S A C R

Summary of the report: E FR SP

Consultation and submissions

For the preparation of this report, the Special Rapporteur received over 49 submissions in response to her call:
> Stakeholders' responses to the questionnaire

The Special Rapporteur also convened a public consultation on 1 February 2012 where she briefed States and other stakeholders on her upcoming report and benefitted from the views and perspectives they shared:
> Briefing by the Special Rapporteur

Video: Stigmatization due to lack of water and sanitation:

              Stigmatization due to lack of water and sanitation

[Transcript in Word]