UN Special Rapporteur launches new WASH sector reports

Léo Heller, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, has just released his first reports on key issues affecting the WASH sector and influencing people’s abilities to realise their human rights to water and sanitation. The most recent report on development cooperation will be presented at the United Nations General Assembly next week, so read the report and all about this important issue ahead of this important event.

Development cooperation

Development cooperation can impact the human rights situation of a State or region in a positive or a negative way. In the present report, the Special Rapporteur discusses development cooperation in the water and sanitation sector, assessing the roles that it can and should play in the realisation of the human rights to water and sanitation.

An exploratory work, that will be complemented by a more in-depth report in 2017, is presented in the current report, where the Special Rapporteur clarifies the relevant human rights obligations of bilateral and multilateral funders, including United Nations agencies. Subsequently, he assesses how development cooperation has been evolving in the water and sanitation sector. The Special Rapporteur presents a critical examination of relevant patterns and tendencies, drawing attention to the current approaches of funders and partner States in that field, with a focus on the related human rights principles and normative content. A number of key issues are addressed, with emphasis on assessing measures that mitigate possible negative impacts and aiming to maximize the potential positive impacts on realising people’s human rights.

Visit the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights website online to view and download the report on Development Cooperation. On the far right of the page, click on (E) for English, (F) for French and so on, to download the report in your relevant United Nations language.

Gender equality

Heller has also recently completed a comprehensive report on gender equality issues which was presented this week to the Human Rights Council. Gender equality is a fundamental human rights principle, and yet despite this, rampant inequalities between men and women are currently observed in all countries around the world – often translating into unequal opportunities and grave human rights violations.

In the report, the Special Rapporteur focuses on gender equality in the realisation of the human rights to water and sanitation. The rapport explains that a transformative approach is a prerequisite for ultimately achieving gender equality in the enjoyment of the human rights to water and sanitation. This approach requires challenging social norms, stereotypes and intra-household patterns, while also promoting gender-responsive interventions that prioritise the implementation of women’s specific needs. At the same time, the Special Rapporteur indicates that tackling the material and structural determinants of gender inequalities in access to water, sanitation and hygiene could serve as an entry point to address gender inequality more broadly.

The rapport seeks to highlight areas that need particular attention in order to prevent and respond to gender inequalities in access to water and sanitation, as well as gender-based violence and barriers to the realisation of the human rights to water and sanitation.

Click here to download the report in all UN languages.

 

 

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