Coordinating the UN's work on water and sanitation

“It is possible,” UN expert Léo Heller says on the human right to water & sanitation

GENEVA (27 July 2015) – The right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights, the United Nations General Assembly stated resoundingly in a landmark resolution* adopted on 28 July 2010.

Ahead of the fifth anniversary of the GA resolution, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Léo Heller, says that despite great challenges, making this right a reality is possible.

“Five years ago today, the United Nations Member States explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation at the General Assembly. And that means that as a human right, all people, without discrimination, must have access to safe drinking water and sanitation, which is affordable, acceptable, available and safe.”

There is still a long way to go to make this right a reality for all, to have a world where universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene is attained by everyone living in informal settlements, who today have no choice but to buy expensive water, all the old women who have to walk to the bush every day to defecate in the open, and all the girls who miss school days during their menstruation.

The proposed Sustainable Development Goals will provide an opportunity to reach this reality in the coming 15 years through the strong commitment of all countries.

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