The Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation in Law and Policy

Organization(s): Freshwater Action Network, WASH United, WaterLex
Author: Ashfaq Kha lfan, Ceridwen Johnson, Danielle Morley, Hannah Neumeyer, Heidi Adler-Michaelson, Isabella Montgomery, Jean-Benoit Charrin, Laura van de Lande, Mary O’Connell, Thorsten Kiefer, Virginia Roaf
Year: 2012
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This  publication  is  an  extensive  overview  of  laws  and  policies  guaranteeing  the  human  right  to  safe  drinking  water  and  sanitation  at  the  national,  regional  and  international levels. It includes sources from 97 countries.

Keeping this publication to a reasonable size, but at the same time providing for a representative  range of  laws and  policies addressing all the various normative elements of the right to safe drinking water and sanitation proved to be a constant struggle. This sourcebook provides for a comprehensive overview of the international, regional and national sources that we found best fitting with the normative content  of the human right to safe drinking water  and  sanitation,  but  it  is
nowhere near exhaustive.

Furthermore, this publication  does not aim to explain the legal value and context of each source or assess the implementation of a certain law or policy. Further research will  be  required  to  fully understand the  actual  impact  of  the  laws  and  policies contained in this sourcebook as regards actual impact towards the realization of the right to safe drinking water and sanitation on the ground.

Our research did not extend to all national legislations and policies. Due to the sheer enormity of the task as well as language issues and non-availability of law and policy documents, we were not able to identify all possible relevant sources in the countries we did analyze. Laws that we have included may  have been amended without us being aware of it.

Potential uses of this publication  
Through an extensive number of legal and policy standards, this publication demonstrates that the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation is widely recognized at the domestic as well as  regional and international levels.

The research into domestic laws, policies and jurisprudence included nearly every country in the Americas and in Africa, most of Western Europe, the former CIS countries, as well as South Asia and parts of the Pacific region. Regions that have been less well researched (due to limited availability of relevant sources and language barriers) are Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Southeast Asia.

By recognizing the right to safe drinking water and sanitation, legislation and policies must be in accordance with the content of this human right, as laid down in international documents. The objective of this sourcebook is to give people access to an extensive list of sources relating to the right so safe drinking water and sanitation in an accessible format for developing and reforming legislation and  policy at the national level.

Social Protection and Human Rights