Published on Nov 25, 2013
Catarina de Albuquerque, a leading human rights expert and the first United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation, delivers the 2013 UNC Health and Human Rights Lecture, “Implementing Human Rights to Eliminate Inequalities in Water and Sanitation.”
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The event is co-sponsored by the Center for Bioethics, the Department of Public Policy, the Water Institute at UNC and the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases at UNC. It is part of the University’s campus-wide theme, ‘Water in Our World.’
UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation Catarina de Albuquerque has called on states to address the issue of stigmatization of groups and communities because of lack to water and sanitation.
She presented a report to the UN Human Rights Council focusing on the links between stigma and the realization of the human rights to water and sanitation.
The 22 page PDF report “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque | Stigma and the realization of the human rights to water and sanitation“
Summary from Report:
“The Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation submits the present report in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 16/2. She focuses on the links between stigma and the human rights framework as it relates to water and sanitation. She has found that stigma, as a deeply entrenched social and cultural phenomenon, lies at the root of many human rights violations and results in entire population groups being disadvantaged and excluded.
The Special Rapporteur seeks to convey an understanding of stigma and to elucidate its drivers. She links stigma explicitly to water, sanitation and hygiene before examining different manifestations of stigma. She situates stigma in the human rights framework considering, in particular, human dignity, the human rights to water, sanitation, non-discrimination and equality, the prohibition of degrading treatment, and the right to privacy. Based on this analysis, the Special Rapporteur seeks to identify appropriate strategies for preventing and responding to stigma from a human rights perspective, before concluding with a set of recommendations. She emphasizes that States cannot fully realize the human rights to water and sanitation without addressing stigma as a root cause of discrimination and other human rights violations.”
- Understanding stigma and its drivers
- Stigma and its links to water, sanitation and hygiene
- Manifestations of stigma
- Situating stigma in the human rights framework
- Identifying appropriate strategies for prevention and response
- Conclusions and recommendations
Strategies for prevention and response detailed in the report include
- Participation and empowerment
- Awareness-raising to break taboos and challenge stereotypes
- Legislative, policy and institutional measures
- Adopting targeted interventions
- Adopting technical measures .
- Ensuring access to justice
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“…The draft ministerial declaration of the 6th World Water Forum: Time for Solutions still does not recognize the human right to water and sanitation that has been explicitly recognized at the UN”
GENEVA (9 March 2012) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Catarina de Albuquerque today warned that the right to safe drinking water and sanitation will be sidelined at the 6th World Water Forum, a key global gathering of delegates from 140 governments, international organisations, civil society and the scientific community, representing more than 180 countries.
“It comes as an unwelcome surprise that the draft ministerial declaration of the 6th World Water Forum: Time for Solutions still does not recognize the human right to water and sanitation that has been explicitly recognized at the UN,” said the expert charged by the Human Rights Council with promoting, monitoring and reporting on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation. “Governments are being inconsistent with their prior decisions on the recognition of the right to water and sanitation taken at the UN General Assembly.”
“If Governments spend one week discussing ‘solutions’ for water issues while failing to base them on the human right to water and sanitation, how could such solutions be for people who need water and sanitation most and are systematically neglected?,” asked Ms. de Albuquerque. “The outcome of the World Water Forum may become ‘solutions’ built on faulty foundations.”
In the final draft Ministerial Declaration of the 6th World Water Forum scheduled to take place in Marseille from 12 to 17 March 2012, governments – under a strong push by a very small minority of countries – have for the time being failed to explicitly affirm that the right to water and sanitation should be the basis for any solutions aimed at bringing sanitation and water for those still deprived of these essential services.
“The World Water Forum is not a gathering seen as a source for the creation of international law, but it is still unfortunate that this Forum’s Declaration does not respect the outcomes of long-standing thorough and comprehensive discussions at the UN,” Ms. de Albuquerque said. “I call upon the Governments participating at the World Water Forum to amend the text of the draft declaration. We still have time to do that.”
The independent expert further stressed that the international human rights standard on water and sanitation agreed at the UN must also guide the negotiations for upcoming Rio+20 and post-2015 development goals. “I am confident that UN Member States will integrate the human right to water and sanitation into future global agreements,” she said.
Catarina de Albuquerque is the first UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation. She was appointed by the Human Rights Council in 2008. Ms. de Albuquerque is a Professor at the Law Faculties of the Universities of Braga and Coimbra and a Senior Legal Adviser at the Office for Documentation and Comparative Law, an independent institution under the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Learn more about the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/WaterAndSanitation/SRWater/Pages/SRWaterIndex.aspx
For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya (+ 41 22 917 9383 / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Check the Universal Human Rights Index: http://uhri.ohchr.org/en
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