Publication date

Realising The Human Rights To Water And Sanitation: A Handbook By The Un Special Rapporteur Catarina De Albuquerque

The Handbook will serve as a practical guide explaining the meaning and legal obligations that stem from the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, translating the often complicated legal language into information that can be readily understood by practitioners including government officials and members of civil society organizations.

It is presented in nine booklets, each of which discusses a particular topic. It is currently available in English and will soon be available online in Arabic, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Purpose of the Handbook

Specifically, the Handbook has been developed to:

  • clarify the meaning of the human rights to water and sanitation;
  • explain the obligations that stem from these rights;
  • provide guidance on implementing the human rights to water and sanitation;
  • share good practices and how these rights are being implemented;
  • explore how governments can be held to account for delivering their obligations; 
  • provide checklists, so users can analyze how they are complying with the rights.

Target Audience

The target audiences for this Handbook are governments, donors and national regulatory bodies. It provides information that will also be useful to local, regional and international stakeholders, such as civil society, service providers and human rights organizations.

Partners in Collaboration

Through its various projects UN-Habitat has demonstrated how the right to water and sanitation can be achieved in reality and has also developed the following publications in collaboration with its partners:

Fact Sheet on the Right to Water published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in collaboration with UN-Habitat and the World Health Organization

Manual on the Right to Water and Sanitation in an alliance with COHRE, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, (AAAS), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and NORAD

Sanitation: A human rights imperative with COHRE, WaterAid and SDC