CLTS and the Right to Sanitation, Frontiers of CLTS issue 8, 2016. Authors: Musembi, C. and Musyoki, S.
The purpose of this issue of Frontiers of CLTS is to examine Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in light of human rights: Does CLTS contribute to realising the right to
sanitation and other inter-related rights? Are the principles and practices of CLTS ompatible with human rights?
What are the specific areas of compatibility? What areas raise concerns about actual or potential incompatibilities? With regard to areas of compatibility we discuss CLTS’
consistency with the principle of interdependence of rights, our interpretation of the nature of state duty in relation to CLTS, and CLTS’ recognition of the need to
balance individual and community rights and duties.
With regard to actual or potential incompatibilities with human rights, we discuss complex and controversial issues surrounding the use of shame and disgust, the range of sanctions employed by communities and governments, and subsidies, in light of the right to improved sanitation for all.
We demonstrate that while CLTS is compatible with a human rights based approach to sanitation, there is the potential risk of violation of human rights through bad practice in the name of CLTS. This risk is arguably multiplied with the scaling-up of CLTS, which highlights the need for a fuller understanding of human rights and more rigorous coaching of CLTS practitioners, as well as re-orientation of the attitudes of government public health officials and local leaders.