HRC and Water Issues
Human Rights Council adopts resolutions on safe drinking water.
On September 27th 2012, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution (A/HRC/21/L1) regarding the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation was adopted without a vote.
In the resolution on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, the Council expressed deep concern about the negative impact of discrimination, marginalization and stigmatization on the full enjoyment of this right.
Action on Resolution on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation
The Council expressed deep concern about the negative impact of discrimination, marginalization and stigmatization on the full enjoyment of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation; calls upon States to prioritize in an appropriate way funding for safe drinking water and sanitation, and to monitor the affordability of safe drinking water and sanitation in order to determine whether specific measures are needed to ensure that household contributions are and remain affordable; encourages the Special Rapporteur to continue to make contributions to the discussions on the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015, in particular on the integration of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation; encourages all Governments to continue to respond favorably to requests by the Special Rapporteur for visits and information; and requests the Special Rapporteur to continue to report, on an annual basis, to the Human Rights Council and to submit an annual report to the General Assembly.
Presentation by Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation
In her presentation to the Council on September 12th, 2012 the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation Catarina De Albuquerque, said that the main thematic report focused on the links between stigma and the human rights framework as it related to the rights to water and sanitation. Ms. Albuquerque said that evolutions in perception were evidence that combating stigma was something possible and within reach. Stigma and discrimination were closely interrelated, reinforcing and legitimizing each other. Addressing discrimination without explicitly also recognizing and addressing stigma left part of the underlying issues unsolved. Stigma in relation to the exercise of the human rights to water and sanitation was present everywhere in the world and manifested itself in different ways. It was contrary to the very essence of human dignity, thereby laying the ground for human rights violations that led to further exclusion and marginalization. States had to refrain from any activities that perpetuated and institutionalized stigma, and had to protect individuals from human rights abuses committed by third parties. Also, States should undertake a comprehensive study on stigma, based on a multi-stakeholder participatory process, to identify drivers in relation to the human rights to water and sanitation. States could not meet their human rights obligations without addressing stigma.
The Special Rapporteur said she had undertaken visits to Namibia, Senegal and Uruguay. Despite difficulties and challenges, Governments in each of these countries recognized the human rights to water and sanitation and had a vision, a plan and strategies in place for the water and/or sanitation sectors. However, those who were most affected by the lack of water and sanitation were those individuals and communities who were the most marginalized, most vulnerable, or most stigmatized. In Namibia, the impact of the lack of access to water and sanitation was still an area of concern and the situation was compounded by the fact that 24 percent of health facilities did not have regular water supply. The biggest challenge was low sanitation coverage. In Senegal, the majority of the population did not yet have access to sanitation. Water and sanitation were too expensive for some, including the poorest and most marginalized members of population. In Uruguay, issues of accessibility and affordability of water and sanitation for personal and domestic use required more attention. There was also the negative impact of some livestock industries and major investment projects on resources and the quality of water.
In her concluding remarks, the Special Rapporteur welcomed the declarations by some of the countries she had visited, as well as the statements by the United Kingdom and the European Union, which had stated for the first time as a whole recognition and support for the human rights to water and sanitation. An example of good practices regarding stigma was one present in her recent book ‘On the Right Track’, in relation to a situation in India, addressing discriminatory practices due to caste. That example showed it was possible to address stigma and put an end to it. She agreed with many statements that said that stigma was related to all human rights and went beyond water and sanitation. Responding to the question by Pakistan in that regard, all human rights instruments that dealt with discrimination and called on States to address root causes, dealt to some extent with stigma. Ms. Albuquerque also agreed that the links between stigma and human rights could and should be further explored.
It was also stated that the water target of the Millennium Development Goals had been met in 2010, but the sad reality was that progress was not necessarily seen among the most targeted, marginalized, and stigmatized groups, putting into question the use of the term progress. Discrimination, marginalization, and inequalities were a crucial and tragic blind spot of the Millennium Development Goal, and the Special Rapporteur called on all delegations to have the issue present in all discussions and debates regarding the post 2015 development agenda.
Participation of GICJ at Human Rights Council Sessions
Human Rights Council - 35th regular session (6 June - 24 June 2017)
Human Rights Council - 34th regular session (27 February - 24 March 2017)
Human Rights Council - 33rd regular session (10 September - 30 September 2016)
Human Rights Council - 32nd regular session (13 June - 1 and 8 July 2016)
Human Rights Council - 31st regular session (29 February - 24 March 2016)
Human Rights Council - 30th regular session (14 September - 2 October 2015)
Human Rights Council - 29th regular session (15 June - 3 July 2015)
Human Rights Council - 22nd special session on the human rights situation in Iraq in light of abuses committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and associated groups - 1 September 2014:
Human Rights Council - 21st special session on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem - 23 July 2014:
Human Rights Council - 26th regular session (10 - 27 June 2014):
Human Rights Council - 25th regular session (3 - 28 March 2014):
Human Rights Council - 24th regular session (9 - 27 September 2013):
Human Rights Council - 23rd regular session (27 May - 14 June 2013):
Human Rights Council - 22nd regular session (25 February - 22 March 2013):
Human Rights Council - 21st regular session (10 - 28 September, 5 November 2012):
Human Rights Council - 19th regular session (27 February - 23 March 2012):