Fri, 07 Oct 2022

Geneva [Switzerland], June 25 (ANI): India and EU held a Human Rights Council side event on the importance of access to safe drinking water and sanitation for the realisation of gender equality.

The side event highlighted the interrelation between access to water and all human rights and the need for a systematic and comprehensive approach to ensuring the right to safe drinking water and sanitation.

"The Permanent Mission of India and the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva co-organised on Friday, 24 June 2022 a hybrid side event during the ongoing 50th regular session of the Human Rights Council on 'Realising gender equality in the realisation of the rights to safe drinking water and sanitation'," EU at UN said in a statement.

The side event received cross-regional support from the Permanent Missions of Germany, Spain, Bolivia, Mexico, Gabon, Namibia, The Gambia, Republic of Korea, Fiji, UAE and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"The human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation are some of the most crucial of the economic, social and cultural rights," Indra Mani Pandey, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva.

Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey continued, "These are enabling rights that make the enjoyment of other human rights possible. For example, the right to the highest attainable standard of health, the right to adequate food, the right to adequate housing and the right to education are all closely interlinked to these rights. They are of even greater relevance for the realisation of gender equality. There are ample statistics to prove that the lack of access to drinking water and sanitation has a disproportionately adverse impact on the lives of women and girls, in particular their health, mobility and safety."Twelve years ago, the UN General Assembly explicitly recognised "the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right", acknowledging that clean drinking water and sanitation were essential to the realisation of all human rights.

"The EU supports the universal access to safe, sufficient, and affordable drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, and the human rights dimension in those areas," said Ambassador Lotte Knudsen, the Head of the Delegation of the European Union.

"This support comes in both political and financial forms," continued Ambassador Lotte Knudsen adding, "The EU and its Member States are the world's largest Official Development Aid donor. We apply a human rights-based approach to ensure outcomes are inclusive, just, and sustainable. Over the last decade, the EU has invested more than Euros 2.5 billion in water and sanitation."The panel discussions were moderated by the focal point on the human rights to water and sanitation, Rio Hada, from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Development and Economic and Social Issues Branch.

The side event brought together a wide range of participants, including civil society organisations' and States' representatives, who drew attention to the challenges faced in the realisation of the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as well as good practices from their respective regions.

The urgent need for States to fast-track progress under Sustainable Development Goals 6 for furthering the human rights of women and girls was emphasised. SDG 6 is about "clean water and sanitation for all". It is one of 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. (ANI)

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