26 Oct 2010

Access to safe drinking water for all: UN Human Rights Council calls

In a recent resolution passed at the helm of the United Nations' Human Rights Council [A/HRC/15/L.14 dated 24.09.2010] the members of the UN have agreed to ensure "access to safe drinking water and sanitation" for all. The Council referred to its earlier resolutions on the twin issues to emphasis upon the Member States that there was an immediate requirement to address these issues in their fullest perspective. 

The Resolution inter alia provides as under;
6. Reaffirms that States have the primary responsibility to ensure the full realization of all human rights, and that the delegation of the delivery of safe drinking water and/or sanitation services to a third party does not exempt the State from its human rights obligations;
7. Recognizes that States, in accordance with their laws, regulations and public policies, may opt to involve non-State actors in the provision of safe drinking water and sanitation services and, regardless of the form of provision, should ensure transparency, non-discrimination and accountability; 
8. Calls upon States:
(a) To develop appropriate tools and mechanisms, which may encompass legislation, comprehensive plans and strategies for the sector, including financial ones, to achieve progressively the full realization of human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation, including in currently unserved and underserved areas; 
(b) To ensure full transparency of the planning and implementation process in the provision of safe drinking water and sanitation and the active, free and meaningful participation of the concerned local communities and relevant stakeholders therein; 
(c) To pay particular attention to persons belonging to vulnerable and marginalized groups, including by respecting the principles of non-discrimination and gender equality;
(d) To integrate human rights into impact assessments throughout the process of ensuring service provision, as appropriate;
(e) To adopt and implement effective regulatory frameworks for all service providers in line with the human rights obligations of States, and to allow public regulatory institutions of sufficient capacity to monitor and enforce those regulations; 
(f) To ensure effective remedies for human rights violations by putting in place accessible accountability mechanisms at the appropriate level;
9. Recalls that States should ensure that non-State service providers:
(a) Fulfil their human rights responsibilities throughout their work processes, including by engaging proactively with the State and stakeholders to detect potential human rights abuses and find solutions to address them;
(b) Contribute to the provision of a regular supply of safe, acceptable, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation services of good quality and sufficient quantity;
(c) Integrate human rights into impact assessments as appropriate, in order to identify and help address human rights challenges; 
(d) Develop effective organizational-level grievance mechanisms for users, and refrain from obstructing access to State-based accountability mechanisms;

No comments: