Posted by: africanpressorganization | 29 June 2009

Egypt well placed to tackle human rights challenges related to water and sanitation, says UN independent expert




Egypt well placed to tackle human rights challenges related to water and sanitation, says UN independent expert


CAIRO, Egypt, June 29, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — At the conclusion of an eight-day mission to Egypt, the UN Independent Expert on human rights, water and sanitation issued the following statement:

“After an official visit to Egypt, I am leaving impressed by the efforts being made to improve access to drinking water. The level of political and financial commitment to tackle these complicated issues is to be commended.

Despite these achievements, challenges remain — and with the good experience of the Government in these areas in the past years, the authorities are well placed to now look more closely at these issues — extending access to sanitation, ensuring even the poorest can pay for drinking water, improving drinking water quality in the more isolated or poorer areas, and addressing disparities between rural and urban as well as between formal and informal habitations. Human rights obligations will help guide the authorities to further improve their work on water and sanitation.

I note that the authorities and other stakeholders are already implementing some good practices to address some of these challenges. For example, the Government, UNICEF and others have established revolving funds to help poor people access drinking water and sanitation, by loaning the money to bring the connection to the household level, and allowing the beneficiary to pay back the cost in instalments. I saw that this practice has a decisive impact on the daily lives of the people concerned, especially for women and children.

The achievements must be recognized – the concerns accepted as challenges to be prioritized at the next stage of Egypt’s impressive effort. That it considers access to drinking water and sanitation a right for all its people is already to Egypt’s credit, and may partly explain its achievements to date. On water, Egypt can be held as an example of effort – further progress on sanitation and on remaining challenges will make the country an undisputed leader on these issues.”


Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)


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