The Human Right to Water and Sanitation, Oct 24

Friday, October 24, 2014

In 2010, the UN General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation, acknowledging that everyone, without discrimination, should have access to adequate amounts of safe, affordable, acceptable water and sanitation. There is now an elaborate framework of international treaties, declarations, general comments, guidelines and jurisprudence articulating the nature and scope of states’ legal obligation to realize the human rights to water and sanitation. But what, in practice, do the human rights to water and sanitation entail?

In this presentation, Catarina de Albuquerque, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the rights to safe drinking water and sanitation (formerly Independent Expert), will discuss current developments in implementing these key human rights, along with the next steps in making these rights a reality.

De Albuquerque has recently issued the first comprehensive handbook on this issue, "Realizing the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation" (2014). Between 2004 and 2008, she presided over the negotiations of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which the UN General Assembly approved by consensus on 10 December 2008.

De Albuquerque is an invited Professor at the Law Faculties of the Universities of Braga and Coimbra and a Senior Legal Adviser at the Office for Documentation and Comparative Law, an independent institution under the Prosecutor General’s Office. She was awarded the Human Rights Golden Medal by the Portuguese Parliament (10 December 2009) for outstanding work in the area of human rights. Her work in human rights was also honoured by the Portuguese President of the Republic (October 2009) with the Order of Merit, which is a recognition of an individual's personal bravery, achievement, or service.

This lecture is sponsored by the Berkeley Research Seminar on the Human Right to Water, Social Science Matrix, and the Berkeley School of Law International Human Rights Clinic. All are welcome.