September 24, 2010  The Council on Human Rights made a step further than the UN General Assembly on 25 July. This recognized only politically the right to water and sanitation. Now, this right is enshrined in the jurisdiction of international conventions on human rights. This tool is essential to initiate the implementation of this right. It is still necessary that States include it in the national legislation and implement it.


The Commission on Human Rights adopted the resolution text which states that the fundamental right to clean water and sanitation results from the right to an adequate standard of living. States have adopted a "consensus" leaving States free to delegate the management and distribution of water to non-state actors (eg private companies but also community-based

organizations). In Article 9, the text requires that States ensure that said player does not violate the right to water and sanitation.


The problem is that many states lack the means to ensure this control and that other governments have hidden agendas.



About the report of the independent expert Albuquerque

This report focuses on the human rights obligations and responsibilities which apply in cases of non-State service provision of water and sanitation. It has been released in September 2010. This report highlights the importance of establishing legal mechanisms to make non-state providers in the informal sector more accountable.


The expert overviews the informal sector in water services and sanitation. It has been estimated that almost 50 per cent of the urban population in Africa rely on small-scale providers.  But these are not subject to legal contractual or regulatory framework imposing respect for human rights in access to water and sanitation. The report notes that services in the informal sector vary widely, are generally of poor quality and very expensive; water bought from informal private vendors is frequently 10 to 20 times as expensive as water provided by a utility.  

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