UNISON and End Water Poverty launch human rights toolkit for water and sanitation advocates

Christian Care and Fellowship Foundation
12 Oct 2020

On Monday 12 October End Water Poverty and UNISON, the UK's largest union, published the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation Advocacy Toolkit for civil society, trade unionists and activists.

A rights violation can take many forms. It can look like a mother collecting unsafe water next to an open sewer. It can look like ineffective septic tanks, shoddily constructed pit latrines, open sewers that expose people to disease. It can look like the billions of people who are unable to protect themselves or their families from contracting Covid because they are denied safe, affordable, reliable water services.

This toolkit equips advocates with tactics and strategies to hold governments accountable for guaranteeing people's access to water and sanitation. It starts by guiding readers through the international human rights framework, outlining people's entitlements, the state's obligations, and the various accountability mechanisms advocates can use to pursue justice.

The toolkit's author Laurin Liu, Canada's youngest female parliamentarian, then makes the case for quality, publicly provided water and sanitation services. She examines how privatisation has weakened water and sanitation services - from eroding access to diminishing quality and endangering human rights - using examples from Argentina, Cameroon, Chile, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, the Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, and more.

You will also learn: 

  • Tools for pressuring governments to enshrine the human rights in national laws, policies and regulations
  • How neoliberal policies and global trends have led to the normalisation of privatised water and sanitation services
  • The different types of private-sector involvement in water and sanitation services
  • Alternatives to privatisation such as municipalisation and public-public partnerships
  • Steps for planning and executing advocacy at the national and local levels
  • How to build coalitions between civil society, trade unions and social movements

You can read the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation Advocacy Toolkit online or download below. French and Spanish translations will be available soon.