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Catarina de Albuquerque and Virginia Roaf

Chapter 11 considers two human rights that were not explicitly recognized in the UDHR or the ICESCR - the rights to water and sanitation. These rights were affirmed by the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council only in 2010. Though dramatic inequality in access to safe drinking water and sanitation persists, the decade since the rights to water and sanitation were finally recognized has seen significant progress in understanding their content, principles and obligations as well as developing laws, policies and practices for the realization of these rights. After laying out the legal foundations and content of the rights to water and sanitation under international human rights law, this chapter explores how key human rights principles of equality, transparency, accountability and participation apply and describes State obligations to implement rights-based planning, adequate financing and effective monitoring. The challenges of ensuring services for informal settlements and rural areas are explored, as well as the regulatory frameworks that must be applied to the range of service providers, both public and private, formal and informal. Finally, the chapter describes important advances in ensuring access to justice for the rights to water and sanitation, whereby effective remedies have been ensured for violations of states’ obligations not only to respect, but also to protect and fulfil the rights to water and sanitation.