21 January 2016

Joint Statement from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and WASH United on UN General Assembly Resolution 70/169 on the Human Rights to Water and to Sanitation

United Nations General Assembly affirms that water and sanitation are distinct rights and confirms a strong definition of these rights

Human Rights Watch 17 December 2015: The UN General Assembly today adopted by consensus a resolution which for the first time recognises the distinction between the human right to water and the human right to sanitation. Amnesty International, WASH United and Human Rights Watch welcome this step and the additional clarification of States’ obligations contained in General Assembly resolution 70/169.

Highlighting the right to sanitation
The recognition of the rights to water and sanitation as distinct human rights reflects the accurate understanding of the right to an adequate standard of living, as defined in international human rights law. The right to an adequate standard of living contains a number of different rights that are recognised and treated as distinct rights. This includes, for example, the rights to food, health and housing. With the resolution adopted today, the General Assembly has clarified that the rights to water and sanitation, while linked, are separate from one another and have distinct features, while they remain part of the right to an adequate standard of living and are interrelated to other human rights...read on.