Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, A/HRC/27/55, 30 June 2014
III. A typology of common violations of the human rights to water and sanitation
D. Violations of the obligation to refrain from discrimination and to ensure substantive equality
3. Failure to prevent and combat stigmatization and to take measures against discrimination in the private sphere
64. Women and girls are frequently subjected to unacceptable risks of violence, including sexual violence, in accessing water and sanitation facilities. Their right to personal security may be violated by failures to provide adequate protection from violence, including through appropriate design and placement of facilities with the participation of women. Many other groups and individuals such as Dalits and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals also face violence in accessing water and sanitation, often linked to deeply entrenched stigmatization.
4. Failure to monitor inequalities in access to water and sanitation and to collect disaggregated data for that purpose
66. Without collecting data on inequalities, States are unable to identify systemic discrimination and inequalities. The failure to collect data makes it more difficult, if not impossible, to hold States to account for a lack of progress. In the context of disability, article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities explicitly obliges States to collect and disaggregate data to enable them to formulate appropriate policies. There is often a misconception that the collection of disaggregated data would be discriminatory as such. However, the contrary is true: disaggregated data are necessary in order to address inequalities. Where States fail to take reasonable measures and to make monitoring part of their planning exercises, they may be violating human rights. In collecting such data, States must put in place appropriate mechanisms to safeguard the privacy and security of individuals and groups and prevent misuse of data. This includes repealing laws that criminalize people because of their identity, for instance on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, in order to avoid a particular population group being targeted and abused under the pretext of monitoring. Without such safeguards, being identified as a distinct group may be politically sensitive, reinforce stigma and result in grave risks to individuals and groups.
67. Violations of rights to non-discrimination and equality infuse other rights violations. What has become increasingly clear to the Special Rapporteur is that systemic and widespread denials of access to water and sanitation are first and foremost driven by patterns of discrimination, stigmatization and exclusion. Challenging violations of rights to water and sanitation invariably confronts endemic patterns of inequalities. More efforts are needed, in particular with regard to challenging discrimination faced by persons with disabilities, inequalities based on socioeconomic status, and discrimination and stigmatization deeply entrenched in society.
Link to full text of the report: Report-SRWater-2014-eng