Mentioning the unmentionable: The right to sanitation in law and practice

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Publication Title

Mentioning the unmentionable: the right to sanitation in law and practice

Publication Type

Author(s)

Malcolm Langford, Norwegian Centre on Human Rights, University of Oslo

Publication Date

27 Nov 2008

ISBN-ISSN-EAN

Publication URL

Contact

Contents

Summary

As few countries have made significant progress in providing adequate sanitation, the movement for prioritising sanitation in development and health policies has increasingly gained momentum. The designation of 2008 as the UN International Year of Sanitation and the creation of a dedicated global fund are emblematic of this drive but the stigma surrounding sanitation still renders it the poor cousin of water. Many development and human rights actors are now calling for recognition of sanitation as a human right which was notably omitted in General Comment No 15 on the Right to Water in 2002 although a number of articulated obligations included duties to provide adequate sanitation. This paper will set out to explore this movement and claims and what a right to sanitation may mean in practice. The introduction will examine sanitation in its historical and political context, including arguments over its instrumental benefits and the potential value in recognising and operationalising the right to sanitation. The second section will examine the legal and philosophical basis of the right to sanitation and whether the growing recognition of the right in international and domestic instruments leads to the creation of a new human right and/or a ‘co-right’ with water. A third section will analyse the content and obligations associated with the right to sanitation and seek to determine how its individual and collective dimensions fit within a largely individualist human rights framework.

References

See also

HRBA

General Comment 15: The Right to Water (2002)

Sanitation

External Resources

Attachments

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