The Special Rapporteur on the human rights to water and sanitation, Léo Heller, will focus his 2019 Human Rights Council report on the human rights to water and sanitation in spheres of life beyond the households, in particular in public spaces.
During his country visits, the Special Rapporteur has observed that access to water and sanitation in public spaces is often not ensured or regulated as part of the human rights to water and sanitation by authorities, while attention has been increasing in other spheres of life such in schools and health facilities. Access to water and sanitation must be ensured in all spheres of life in accordance with the normative content of the human rights (accessibility, quality, affordability, availability, acceptability, privacy and dignity).
In this report, the Special Rapporteur is intending to examine the status and the impact of the inadequate access to water and sanitation on people, in particular those living in homelessness and informal street workers, as well LGBTI people, older persons, women, children and persons with disabilities. He will also look at the regulation, accountability mechanisms and monitoring of access to water and sanitation in public spaces.
Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation
Having access to safe drinking water and sanitation is central to living a life in dignity and upholding human rights. Yet billions of people still do not enjoy these fundamental rights. The rights to water and sanitation require that these are available, accessible, safe, acceptable and affordable for all without discrimination. These elements are clearly interrelated. While access to water may be guaranteed in theory, in reality, if it is too expensive, people do not have access. Women will not use sanitation facilities which are not maintained or are not sex segregated. Having a tap which delivers unsafe water does not improve one’s access. Human rights demand a holistic understanding of access to water and sanitation. The rights to water and sanitation further require an explicit focus on the most disadvantaged and marginalized, as well as an emphasis on participation, empowerment, accountability and transparency.
The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation was established to examine these crucial issues and provide recommendations to Governments, to the United Nations and other stakeholders. Mr. Léo Heller was appointed in November 2014, and began his work on the mandate on 1 December 2014.