Sadly, this maxim is true for one-third of the world population — 2.5 billion people. These people have no access to clean toilets and proper sanitation, causing disease and deadly infections. The UN General Assembly has now earmarked sanitation as a separate human right to combat disease. (See: “Proper Sanitation Becomes Separate UN Human Right in Enhanced Fight against Deadly Infections.”)
The absence of sanitation has a negative domino effect on pursuit of other human rights, like health, education and life itself. Cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis result. Particularly for young girls, poor sanitation and water-related issues result in absence from school. People with disabilities and children lead marginalized lives.
Says UN Special Rapporteur, Leo Heller: “The move to making sanitation its own human right means that we can directly address the particular human rights challenges associated with sanitation.”
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