Recognition of sanitation as human right - Analysis of UN Reports submitted by Nepal, Bangladesh, and India


Publication date



Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences

Document type


Master i International Social Welfare and Health Policy


The recognition of right to sanitation has been a significant step and an important vehicle that has helped different organizations make their plans on what needs to be done and implement actions to inequities and injustice in the access to sanitation services. This study aims to analyze the implementation of the new right to sanitation enacted by the right holders through international law in the three South-Asian countries including Nepal, India and Bangladesh. The study also intends to address various challenges and difficulties faced while implementing plans of action to improve sanitation sector in these countries. The study further aims to discuss and analyze efforts being made and difficulties faced while implementing these efforts in these countries. The study will compare the progress in sanitation sector among them. The available reports submitted by the government and the civil society organizations working in three South-Asian countries (Nepal, India and Bangladesh) from the website of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights that were submitted under International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights and Convention on Rights of the Child will be used and analyzed. The study uses Literature review to analyze these UN documents submitted from 2000 to 2015 in the context of these three South-Asian countries. The findings of the study showed that different types of approaches were made by the government and non-government organizations to promote sanitation and to achieve sanitation coverage as aimed by MDGs. These approaches were targeted to reach the most vulnerable and disadvantaged group of people who were devoid of the sanitation facilities. Some of the main approaches made by different institutions in these three countries are a) awareness programs to promote sanitation and spread the messages of sanitary and hygienic practices b) sanitation campaigns to increase the involvement of the people in the community c) increase the demand for construction of sanitary latrines by providing them with subsidies or making the sanitary wares affordable d) initiating Sanitation and Hygiene education in schools to promote sanitation via child to child and child to community means e) implementing programs to eradicate discrimination practices for girls and lower-caste groups in the society and provide them with sanitation facilities. Significant progress has been achieved in all the three countries but they are still lagging due to different challenges. Bangladesh showed significant progress in sanitation coverage with reduction of open defecation to only 1 percent compared to other two countries. The study brings into light varied approaches that are being made and challenges that are being faced by government, non-government, and civil society organizations while implementing the programs and strategies related to sanitation. This can help the stakeholders and policymakers develop understanding that process of promotion of sanitation situation requires learning, planning, and behavior change. Moreover, reaching the target for sanitation coverage is only possible through the integration of approaches based on participation, non-discrimination, equality, accountability and effective evaluation afterward.




Permanent URL (for citation purposes)