A Human Rights-Based Approach to Tackling Corruption in the Water Sector

Brief and Report

The international community recognized the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation in Resolution 64/292 of the UN General Assembly in July 2010. The recognition of safe drinking water as a human right means that States must respect a number of principles inherent in all human rights, specifically: non-discrimination, access to information, participation, accountability, and sustainability.

In this research report and brief, Waterlex and WIN, outline how such a Human Rights based approach can provide a lens through which corruption and its negative impact on water and sanitation can be evaluated more carefully and how the fulfilment of Human Rights obligations and the promotion of water integrity can be mutually reinforcing.

Indeed, “The human right to water and sanitation encompasses procedural rights such as the right to access information (transparency), the right to participate in decision-making processes and the right to ask for remedy (accountability). For human rights advocates, access to information, participation and accountability are rights-based obligations and may trigger human rights protection mechanisms. The right to water and sanitation therefore leads to the empowerment of right-holders and has the potential to transform the balance of the power between right-holders and duty-bearers – which is fundamental for effective access to information, participation and accountability.”


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