Tag Archives: right to sanitation

USA: Amnesty and WaterAid “Give a Crap about Human Rights” campaign

From now until World Toilet Day, 19 November, WaterAid USA and Amnesty International USA are urging people to Give a Crap about Human Rights by supporting the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act.

This Act would help provide 100 million people with “first-time, sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation within six years”.

The “Give a Crap about Human Rights” campaign is part of Amnesty’s Demand Dignity Campaign sub-programme on the human right to housing. This includes work on equal access to services for people living in inadequate housing – and clean water and sanitation are crucial services, and basic human rights.

Go to the Give a Crap about Human Rights web page for more information.

Source: Amnesty International USA,

Right to water and sanitation: new UN resolution supports sustainable service delivery approach

A new resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council at its 18th session calls on states to ensure enough financing for sustainable delivery of water and sanitation services. Passed by consensus on 28 September 2011, resolution A/HRC/RES/18/1 has taken last year’s landmark decision [1] to recognise the right to water and sanitation as legally binding in international law, a step further.

Catarina de Albuquerque. Photo: OHCHR

The new resolution is based on ongoing efforts by UN Special Rapporteur Catarina de Albuquerque to get states to go beyond Millennium Development Goals and strive for universal service provision.

States should maximise investments so that:

water and sanitation systems are sustainable and that services are affordable for everyone, while ensuring that allocated resources are not limited to infrastructure, but also include resources for regulatory activities, operation and maintenance, the institutional and managerial structure and structural measures, including increasing capacity

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South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal: factory workers denied proper sanitation

Workers in many clothing and textile factories in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal are denied proper sanitation facilities, a trade union survey has found.

Workers were not supplied with toilet paper and being forced to use pieces of fabric, SA Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) secretary Chris Gina said. […].

“Workers are expected to place these fabric off-cuts in bags or boxes next to the toilet… which are often only removed once a week, resulting in filthy, smelly, and unhygienic conditions,” he said in a statement.

“At almost all companies that we surveyed workers are not supplied with toilet paper.”

Factories that did supply toilet paper, made workers pay for it and deducted the costs from their weekly wages.

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UN expert hails Bill Gates drive to reinvent the toilet, but warns hardware solutions alone are not enough

Catarina de Albuquerque

UN Special Rapporteur Catarina de Albuquerque welcomed the multimillion dollar grant offered by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at “reinventing the toilet” through new technology to save water and transform human waste into energy and fertiliser. However, she warned “the great challenge ahead is making sure that people actually use the new hardware solutions.”

“New technology alone is not enough to overcome the sanitation and water crisis we face,” said the expert on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation. “Investments in software solutions, like awareness rising among the people on the vital importance of sanitation, are crucial to make sure the hardware solutions are actually used, as I have witnessed in some of the countries I have visited.”

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Namibia: Independent UN expert urges nation to expand access to sanitation services

Ms. Catarina de Albuquerque, United Nations independent expert on the right to water and sanitation paid a week-long visit to Namibia. She noted that the country has over the past 20 years achieved significant progress in extending its water network across the country. Ms. De Albuquerque urged the Government to make similar efforts to ensure that proper sanitation is available to more people in the country. She stressed that access to water and sanitation are human rights, and while that did not mean that the two services must be offered free of charge, it meant that systems must be in place to ensure availability to those who face economic barriers to access. Water points are still far away from households and water remains too expensive. She added that community participation in the design and implementation of water and sanitation projects was indispensable.

Ms. De Albuquerque will prepare a report to be presented at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next year, describing her main findings and providing recommendations.

Read the full statement by  Ms. Catarina de Albuquerque on her mission to Namibia fom 4-11 July 2011

Learn more about the Independent Expert’s mandate and work.

Source: UN News Service / allAfrica.com, 11 July 2011

Ghana: only 0.1% of budget committed to sanitation

In spite of the Government’s pledge to commit 0.5% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to sanitation, the 2011 budget made provision for 0.1%, said Executive Secretary of the Coalition of NGOs in water and sanitation (CONIWAS), Mr Benjamin Arthur. Ghana is one of the signatories of the 2008 eThekwini Declaration in which 17 African governments pledged to allocate a minimum of 0.5% of GDP for sanitation and hygiene.

Arthur said despite the government’s 2010 promise to commit 200 million dollars every year towards water and sanitation activities beginning in 2011, this year’s budget did not reflect that commitment.

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South Africa: landmark ruling on right to sanitation ends Cape Town “toilet wars”

With a high court ruling supporting South Africa’s constitutional right to sanitation, Cape Town’s “brutal – and farcical – toilet wars” have come to an end. Protesters from the Makhaza neighbourhood of the black township Khayelitsha, that was at the centre of the dispute, greeted the court decision with cheers.

Activists queue outside the Cape Town mayor Dan Plato's office on Freedom Day, 27 April 2011 to demand better access to basic sanitation in Khayelitsha and other informal settlements. Photo: Nardus Engelbrecht / Sapa

On 29 April 2011, the Western Cape High Court ruled that the city government must build enclosures around government-provided toilets in Makhaza, ending a two-year dispute that had become a heated political issue between the country’s two largest political parties.

It might seem like a small matter, but with local elections planned for May 18 [2011] across the country, the court decision is likely to become a matter of national political discussion, if not significance. Cape Town is run by South Africa’s second-largest political party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), an opponent of the ruling African National Congress (ANC)

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