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Gender Equality & The Rights to Safe Drinking Water & Sanitation - Report of the UN Special Rapporteur to the Human Rights Council 2016

UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Safe Drinking Water & Sanitation – Website: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/WaterAndSanitation/SRWater/Pages/SRWaterIndex.aspx


Full 21-Page 2016 Report of the Special Rapporteur on Safe Drinking Water & Sanitation to UN HRC 33,

Go to http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/33/49 & on the right side (Documents) click on UN official language translation of choice.


1. Inequalities based on gender exist in every country and in all aspects of social life, and are echoed in the vast divides between men and women in their ability to access, manage and benefit from water, sanitation and hygiene. A large and growing body of studies suggests that women and men often have differentiated access, use, experiences and knowledge of water, sanitation and hygiene. Cultural, social, economic and biological differences between women and men consistently lead to unequal opportunities for women in the enjoyment of the human rights to water and sanitation, with devastating consequences for the enjoyment of other human rights and gender equality more generally.

2. Many of the challenges to achieving gender equality in access to water, sanitation and hygiene are well documented: where water is not available in the home, women and girls are primarily responsible for water and hygiene at the household level and bear the greatest burden for collecting water. Other challenges related to inequality include access to sanitation, menstrual hygiene and toilets for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming people and an increased risk of gender-based violence.

3. Gender inequalities are pervasive at every stage of a women’s life: from infancy, through to puberty, parenthood, illness and old age. In the present report, the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation seeks to underscore the importance of placing a strong focus on the needs of women and girls at all times, throughout their whole lifecycle, and of not overlooking the needs of women and girls with disabilities, living in poverty or suffering from other disadvantages. Gender inequality in access to water and sanitation facilities affect a wide range of other human rights, including women and girls’ rights to health, to adequate housing, to education and to food.

4. Gender-based violence infringes the right to life, personal safety and freedom of movement. Gender non-conforming people often feel that they need to sign away their freedom of expression since segregation by gender — including in public toilets, detention centres, relief camps and school — poses a risk of exclusion, humiliation and violence.

5. Socioeconomic differences and sociocultural relationships, practices and stereotypes may exacerbate gendered differences and result in discrimination in terms of the enjoyment of rights. Since the root causes of those differences are complex and context-dependent, progress towards substantive equality in access to water and sanitation requires public action on different fronts. In tackling discrimination in the human rights to water and sanitation, structural inequalities that inhibit the enjoyment of other human rights must also be addressed. In the present report, it is therefore suggested that concerted efforts in meeting women’s material needs, such as access to affordable menstrual products, as well as their strategic needs, such as tackling harmful gender stereotypes and structural determinants of inequalities that affect access to water, sanitation and hygiene, may serve as entry points to address gender inequalities more broadly.

6. The Special Rapporteur outlines several key points that require attention in order to achieve substantive gender equality. Gender equality and non-discrimination must be integrated in laws and policies and positive measures must be imposed to proactively remedy injustices. Progress towards gender equality in practice requires the identification of root causes of inequalities and the dismantling of structural barriers, taboos, stereotypes and social norms that prevent the equal enjoyment of rights on the basis of gender. Policies and special measures need to be adopted to tackle gender inequalities in practice and strengthen women’s voice and participation. To ensure policies are implemented and progress is made, strong accountability and monitoring frameworks must be put in place. A/HRC/33/49 4 These will only be effective if women are systematically provided with opportunities for meaningful participation, decision-making and access to and control of resources.

Извор: WUNRN – 30.10.2016



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