Rural sanitation. Challenges and proposals from a human rights perspective

The United Nations recognised sanitation as a human right in 2015.
Yet nearly 2 billion people in the world today lack basic access to sanitation, 66% of them in rural areas, which also account for 92% of people who practise open defecation. Nevertheless, rural sanitation is currently not a government or donor priority, and in many cases the actions that are taken face numerous challenges that are not always considered or are difficult to overcome

This report aims to shed light on the main challenges affecting rural sanitation from a human rights perspective. To that end, it is based on the legal content of the human right to sanitation as recognised by the United Nations and draws on the official reports from the Special Rapporteurs on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation
according to their mandates as established by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The content of this report is the result of a ONGAWA-led process of discussion and exchange of experiences involving experts in rural sanitation from different parts of the world. Bearing in mind the intimate relationship between sanitation and hygiene and its dependence on the context, a consensus was reached on the main challenges associated with sanitation and hygiene from a human rights perspective, which millions of people in rural areas of impoverished countries around the world face daily.

Based on these findings, the report presents a series of proposals in different scopes of activity that can help tackle the challenges identified.

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This report has been prepared with funding from the Human Rights Office of the State Secretary for Foreign and Global Affairs and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation.

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