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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Right to Sanitation: still neglected

Having access to safe sanitation is central to living a life in dignity  and upholding human rights. According to the Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking and sanitation, the lack of access to sanitation has a profound negative impact on many human rights. Note that diarrhea is one the chief 'killers' of children under 5 in the world. That said, despite its importance, sanitation is frequently neglected and is not prioritized.

Despite improvements, the lack of access to toilet still presents health risks. According to The New York Times, open defecation, which the World Health Organization describes as "the riskiest sanitation practice of all" is on the decline in many countries. That said, approximately 36 million people around the world still practice it. "While Africa has the fewest toilets, it is also very rural, so the problem is at its worst in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan, where the rate is estimated at 44%. In many slums, where shanties are pressed together for miles on end, with no water pipes between them and drinking water sold from passing carts, millions are forced to squat along railroad track, or to use bits of vacant land."

Can you imagine your life without access to sanitation? I think not.


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