The Human Rights to Water and Sanitation in Courts Worldwide: A Selection of National, Regional and International Case Law
Published in: 2014
Author: WASH United, WaterLex
A key aim of this publication is to share information about the legal enforcement of the human rights to water and sanitation. As such, it is a useful tool for judges, lawyers and those advocating for these rights, and should prove essential for crafting legal complaints that better ensure accountability for violations of the rights to water and sanitation and achieving effective remedies for those suffering such violations. Léo Heller, the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, and his predecessor Ms. Catarina de Albuquerque, have endorsed the publication.
The publication was prepared jointly by WASH United and WaterLex.
Content - Summary
The cases examined in this publication provide real-world examples that demonstrate how the human rights to water and sanitation can be legally enforced before judicial and quasi-judicial bodies. They cover examples of legal enforcement of the range of human-rights obligations, including the obligations to respect, to protect and to fulfill the rights to water and sanitation and to do so without discrimination. Cases involve direct application of rights to water and sanitation at the national level; the use of internationally recognized norms to inform rights at the national level; how to use the principle of indivisibility and interrelatedness of rights to enforce implicit rights to water and sanitation; and how regional and international mechanisms have enforced such rights when domestic remedies are not available or are insufficient.
Furthermore, cases illustrate not only how individuals and groups can use the law and legal enforcement mechanisms to successfully achieve accountability and remedies, but also how those representing larger classes of persons are challenging the impacts of laws, policies and practices on the rights to water and sanitation, and how they can achieve remedies at the more structural and systemic levels.