Words matter: helpful principles and terminology supporting the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation


While the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was agreed in 1948 and the International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights came into force in 1966, it was not until 2002 and then 2010 that water and then sanitation were formally recognised as human rights.

The recognition has led to increased recognition of the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation in policy and strategy documentation globally and within countries. For substantial progress to be made to attaining these rights for all, their incorporation into national laws of each country. For successful incorporation, shared understanding of key concepts and terms is important.

To support this effort, WSSCC and partners have produced a draft document entitled Human Rights Principles and Terminology -- Equality and Non-Discrimination -- Supporting the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation. Click here to download the document.

This document provides a summary for ease of access of Human Rights Principles and explanations of associated terminologies. It has been collated on behalf of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, for use by participants of a training session on ‘Leaving no-one behind and equality and non-discrimination’ at the WASH Futures Conference, Brisbane, 5-9 March 2018. It was then revised based on feedback received at and after the event.

Comments on the document are welcome. Please share them via email at [email protected].