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Human Right to Water and Sanitation: National Documents

Note: The use of this page and the documents contained therein is free but acknowledgment of the source (ielrc.org/content/.... – International Environmental Law Research Centre) is compulsory.

 

Bolivia (Constitution, 2009)

Unofficial Translations:

  • Article 20
    1. Everyone has the right to universal and equitable access to the basic services of drinking water, sanitation, electricity, gas for household uses, postal services and telecommunication.
    3. Access to water and sanitation constitute human rights; they cannot be the object of concessions or privatisation and are subject to a regime of licenses and registers, in accordance with the law.


Colombia (Constitution, 1991/2005)

  • Article 334 - El Estado, de manera especial, intervendrá para asegurar que todas las personas, en particular las de menores ingresos, tengan acceso efectivo a los bienes y servicios básicos.

  • Article 366 - Será objetivo fundamental de su actividad la solución de las necesidades insatisfechas de ... saneamiento ambiental y de agua potable.

Unofficial Translations:

  • Article 334 - The State will, in particular, intervene in order to assure that all persons, principally those of lower revenues, have an effective access to basic goods and services.

  • Article 366 - The palliation of unsatisfied needs in sanitation and drinking water will be one of the fundamental aims [of the State].

Unofficial Translation:

Title I – Concerning Fundamental Principles
Chapter 2 – Concerning Social, Economic and Cultural Rights
Article 49
  • Article 49
    Public health and environmental sanitation are public services for which the State is responsible. All individuals are guaranteed access to services that promote, protect, and rehabilitate public health.
    It is the responsibility of the state to organize, direct, and regulate the delivery of health services and of environmental protection to the population in accordance with the principles of efficiency, universality, and cooperation, and to establish policies for the provision of health services by private entities and to exercise supervision and control over them. In the area of public health, the state will establish the jurisdiction of the nation, territorial entities, and individuals, and determine the shares of their responsibilities within the limits and under the conditions determined by law. Public health services will be organized in a decentralized manner, in accordance with levels of responsibility and with the participation of the community.
    The law will determine the limits within which basic care for all the people will be free of charge and mandatory.

Title XII – Concerning the Economic and Financial Regime
Chapter 5 – Concerning the Social Purpose of the State and of the Public Services
  • Article 366
    General welfare and the improvement of the quality of life of the population are social purposes of the State. It will be a fundamental objective of State activity to address the unmet needs regarding health, education, environmental sanitation and potable water.


Congo (Democratic Republic) (Constitution, 2006)

  • Article 48 - Le droit à un logement décent, le droit d'accès à l'eau potable et à l'énergie électrique sont garantis.


Ecuador (Constitution, 2008)

Unofficial Translations:

    Title II – Rights
    Chapter Six – Rights to freedom
  • Article 66
    The following rights of persons are recognized and guaranteed:
    2. The right to a decent life that ensures health, food and nutrition, clean water, housing, environmental sanitation, education, work, employment, rest and leisure, sports, clothing, social security and other necessary social services.

  • Title VI – Development Structure
    Chapter Five – Strategic sectors, services and state enterprises
  • Article 314
    Article 314. The State shall be responsible for the provision of the public services of drinking and irrigation water, sanitation, electricity, telecommunications, roads, seaport and airport facilities, and others as established by law.
    The State shall ensure that public services and the provision thereof observe the principles of obligation, generality, uniformity, efficiency, responsibility, universality, accessibility, regularity, continuity and quality. The State shall take steps to ensure that the prices and fees of public services are equitable, and shall establish the monitoring and regulation thereof.


Ethiopia (Constitution, 1994)

  • Article 90.1 - To the extent the country's resources permit, policies shall aim to provide all Ethiopians with access to public health and education, clean water, housing, food and social security.


Gambia (Constitution, 1996)

  • Article 216 - (4) The State shall endeavour to facilitate equal access to clean and safe water.


Guatemala (Constitution, 1985)

  • Articulo 127 - Régimen de aguas. Todas las aguas son bienes de dominio público, inalienables e imprescriptibles. Su aprovechamiento, uso y goce, se otorgan en la forma establecida por la ley, de acuerdo con el interés social. Una ley específica regulará esta materia.

  • Articulo 128 - Aprovechamiento de aguas, lagos y ríos. El aprovechamiento de las aguas de los lagos y de los ríos, para fines agrícolas, agropecuarios, turísticos o de cualquier otra naturaleza, que contribuya al desarrollo de la economía nacional, está a los servicios de la comunidad y no de persona particular alguna, pero los usuarios están obligados a reforestar las riberas y los cauces correspondientes, así como a facilitar las vías de acceso.

Unofficial Translations:

  • Article 127 - Water regime. All water resources belong to the public domain of the state, are inalienable and inprescriptible. Their exploitation, use and enjoyment, are granted in the form established by law, in accordance with the social interest. A specific law will regulate this matter.

  • Article 128 - Exploitation of waters, lakes and rivers. The exploitation of waters of lakes and rivers, for agricultural, farming, tourism or purposes of any other nature, that may contribute to the development of the nation's economy, is open to the community and not to any specific particular person, but users are forced to reforest the corresponding shores and channels, as well as to facilitate access paths.


Iran (Constitution, as amended in 1989)

  • Article 3 [State Goals] - In order to attain the objectives specified in Article 2, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has the duty of directing all its resources to the following goals:
    [.]
    12) the planning of a correct and just economic system, in accordance with Islamic criteria, in order to create welfare, eliminate poverty, and abolish all forms of deprivation with respect to food, housing, work, health care, and the provision of social insurance for all;

  • Article 43 [Principles] - The economy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, with its objectives of achieving the economic independence of the society, uprooting poverty and deprivation, and fulfilling human needs in the process of development while preserving human liberty, is based on the following criteria:
    1. the provision of basic necessities for all citizens: housing, food, clothing, hygiene, medical treatment, education, and the necessary facilities for the establishment of a family;


Kenya (Constitution, 2010)

  • Article 43. (1) Every person has the right: (…)
    (b) to accessible and adequate housing, and to reasonable standards of sanitation; (…)
    (d) to clean and safe water in adequate quantities.

  • Article 56. The State shall put in place affirmative action programmes designed to ensure that minorities and marginalised groups: (…)
    (e) have reasonable access to water, health services and infrastructure.

Maldives (Constitution, 2008)

  • Article 23. Every citizen has the following rights pursuant to this Constitution, and the State undertakes to achieve the progressive realisation of these rights by reasonable measures within its ability and resources:
    (a) adequate and nutritious food and clean water;
    (f) the establishment of a sewage system of a reasonably adequate standard on every inhabited island;


Morocco (Constitution, 2011)

  • Article 31. L'Etat, les établissements publics et les collectivités territoriales oeuvrent à la mobilisation de tous les moyens disponibles pour faciliter l'égal accès des citoyennes et des citoyens aux conditions leur permettant de jouir du droit: (...)
    -à l'accès à l'eau et à un environnement sain.


Nicaragua (Constitution, 2003)

  • Arto. 105 Es obligación del Estado promover, facilitar y regular la prestación de los servicios públicos básicos de energía, comunicación, agua, transportes, infraestructura vial, puertos y aeropuertos a la población, y es derecho inalienable de la misma el acceso a ellos. Las inversiones privadas y sus modalidades y las concesiones de explotación a sujetos privados en estas áreas, serán reguladas por la ley en cada caso.

    Los servicios de educación, salud y seguridad social, son deberes indeclinables del Estado, que está obligado a prestarlos sin exclusiones, a mejorarlos y ampliarlos. Las instalaciones e infraestructura de dichos servicios propiedad del Estado, no pueden ser enajenados bajo ninguna modalidad.

    Se garantiza la gratuidad de la salud para los sectores vulnerables de la población, priorizando el cumplimiento de los programas materno - infantil. Los servicios estatales de salud y educacióndeberán ser ampliados y fortalecidos. Se garantiza el derecho de establecer servicios privados en las áreas de salud y educación.

    Es deber del Estado garantizar el control de calidad de bienes y servicios, y evitar la especulación y el acaparamiento de los bienes básicos de consumo.


Nigeria (1999 Constitution)

  • Article 17(2) - In furtherance of the social order
    [.]
    (b) the sanctity of the human person shall be recognised and human dignity shall be maintained and enhanced;
    [.]
    (d) exploitation of human or natural resources in any form whatsoever for reasons, other than the good of the community, shall be prevented; and

  • Article 17(3) - The State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that-
    (a) all citizens, without discrimination on any group whatsoever, have the opportunity for securing adequate means of livelihood [.]

Panama (Constitution, 1999)

  • Articulo 106 - En materia de salud, corresponde primordialmente al Estado el desarrollo de las siguientes actividades :... Combatir las enfermedades transmisibles mediante el saneamiento ambiental, el desarrollo de la disponibilidad de agua potable

  • Articulo 114 - Es deber fundamental del Estado garantizar que la población viva en un ambiente sano y libre de contaminación, en donde el aire, el agua y los alimentos satisfagan los requerimientos del desarrollo adecuado de la vida humana.

  • Articulo 256 - Las concesiones para la explotación del suelo, del subsuelo, de los bosques y para la utilización de agua, de medios de comunicación o transporte y de otras empresas de servicio público, se inspirarán en el bienestar social y el interés público.

Unofficial Translations:

  • Article 106 - In the health sector, it primordially is the responsibility of the state to: . eradicate transmissible diseases through assuring a healthy environment and improving access to potable water

  • Article 114 - It is a fundamental duty of the State to guarantee that the population live in a healthy environment free of pollution, where the air, water and food satisfy the requirements of human life.

  • Article 256 - Concessions for the exploitation of the ground, the subsoil, the forests and for the use of water, communication and transport networks, and other public services companies, will be granted inspired by the social welfare and the public interest.


Philippines (Constitution, 1987)

  • Section 11 - The State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavour to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all the people at affordable cost.


South Africa (Constitution, 1996)

  • Section 27 - Everyone has the right to have access to
    1. health care services, including reproductive health care;
    2. sufficient food and water; and
    3. social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependents, appropriate social assistance.
    The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of each of these rights.


Spain

  • Autonomy Statute of the Community of Valencia (2006)
    Articulo 17 - Se garantiza el derecho de los valencianos y valencianas a disponer del abastecimiento suficiente de agua de calidad. Igualmente, se reconoce el derecho de redistribución de los sobrantes de aguas de cuencas excedentarias atendiendo a criterios de sostenibilidad de acuerdo con la Constitución y la legislación estatal. Los ciudadanos y ciudadanas valencianos tienen derecho a gozar de una cantidad de agua de calidad, suficiente y segura, para atender a sus necesidades de consumo humano y para poder desarrollar sus actividades económicas y sociales de acuerdo con la Ley.

  • Autonomy Statute of the Community of Aragon (2006 Project)
    Articulo 19 - Los aragoneses tienen derecho a disponer del abastecimiento de agua en condiciones de cantidad y calidad suficientes para atender sus necesidades presentes y futuras, tanto para el consumo humano como para el desarrollo de actividades sociales y económicas que permitan la vertebración y el reequilibrio territorial sostenible de Aragón.

  • Autonomy Statute of the Community of Catalunya (2006)
    Articulo 27 - Totes les persones tenen dret a gaudir dels recursos naturals en condicions d'igualtat, i tenen el deure de fer-ne un ús responsable i evitar-ne el malbaratament.
    (Toutes les personnes ont le droit de jouir des ressources naturelles dans des conditions d'égalité et elles ont le devoir d'en faire un usage responsable et d'éviter leur gaspillage).

    Articulo 30.1 - Totes les persones tenen dret a accedir en condicions d'igualtat als serveis públics i als serveis econòmics d'interès general. Les administracions públiques
    han de fixar les condicions d'accés i els estàndards de qualitat d'aquests serveis, amb independència del règim de llur prestació.
    (Toutes les personnes ont droit à l'accès dans des conditions d'égalité aux services publics et aux services économiques d'intérêt général. Les administrations publiques doivent fixer les conditions d'accès et les normes de qualité de ces services indépendamment du régime juridique de leur prestation).

    Articulo 42.1 - Els poders públics han de promoure polítiques públiques que fomentin la cohesió social i que garanteixin un sistema de serveis socials, de titularitat pública i concertada, adequat als indicadors econòmics i socials de Catalunya.

Unofficial Translation:

  • Autonomy Statute of the Community of Valencia (2006)
    Articulo 17 - The provision of sufficient water of quality is granted to the people of Valencia. The right to redistribute the excess of water from other basins is recognized as well, provided sustainability criteria are observed in execution of the constitution and state legislation. The people of Valencia have the right to have a quantity of water of quality, sufficient and safe, in order to satisfy personal consumption needs and in order to perform their economic and social activities in observance of the law.

  • Autonomy Statute of the Community of Aragon (2006 Project)
    Articulo 19 - The people of Aragon have the right to the provision of water in sufficient quantity and quality to satisfy their present and future needs for human consumption and for social and economic activities that allow for the ordainment and sustainable territorial balance of Aragon.

  • Autonomy Statute of the Community of Catalunya (2006)
    Articulo 27 - All persons have the right to enjoy natural resources in equal conditions, and have the right to make a responsible use of them that avoids their wastage.

    Articulo 30.1 - All persons have the right to have access in equal conditions to public services and to economic services of general interest. The government must fix the conditions for access and the quality standards of said services, independently of the juridical regime of their operation.

    Articulo 42.1 - The government must promote public policies that encourage social cohesion and that assure a system of social services in public hands that are adequate to the economic and social indicators of Catalunya.


Uganda (Constitution, 1995)

  • Preamble - The State shall protect important natural resources, including land, water, wetlands, minerals, oil, fauna and flora on behalf of the people of Uganda.

  • Article 14 - The State shall endeavour to fulfil the fundamental rights of all Ugandans to social justice and economic development and shall, in particular, ensure that.
    (2) all Ugandans enjoy rights and opportunities and access to education, health services, clean and safe water, decent shelter, adequate clothing, food, security and pension and retirements benefits.


Uruguay (2004 modification to the constitution, approved by referendum)

  • ARTÍCULO 47. Agréguese: El agua es un recurso natural esencial para la vida. El acceso al agua potable y el acceso al saneamiento, constituyen derechos humanos fundamentales.
    1) La política nacional de Aguas y Saneamiento estará basada en:
    a) el ordenamiento del territorio, conservación y protección del Medio Ambiente y la restauración de la naturaleza.
    b) la gestión sustentable, solidaria con las generaciones futuras, de los recursos hídricos y la preservación del ciclo hidrológico que constituyen asuntos de interés general. Los usuarios y la sociedad civil, participarán en todas las instancias de planificación, gestión y control de recursos hídricos; estableciéndose las cuencas hidrográficas como unidades básicas.
    c) el establecimiento de prioridades para el uso del agua por regiones, cuencas o partes de ellas, siendo la primera prioridad el abastecimiento de agua potable a poblaciones.
    d) el principio por el cual la prestación del servicio de agua potable y saneamiento, deberá hacerse anteponiéndose las razones de orden social a las de orden económico. Toda autorización, concesión o permiso que de cualquier manera vulnere estos principios deberá ser dejada sin efecto.
    2) Las aguas superficiales, así como las subterráneas, con excepción de las pluviales, integradas en el ciclo hidrológico, constituyen un recurso unitario, subordinado al interés general, que forma parte del dominio público estatal, como dominio público hidráulico.
    3) El servicio público de saneamiento y el servicio público de abastecimiento de agua para el consumo humano serán prestados exclusiva y directamente por personas jurídicas estatales. 4) La ley, por los tres quintos de votos del total de componentes de cada Cámara, podrá autorizar el suministro de agua, a otro país, cuando éste se encuentre desabastecido y por motivos de solidaridad.

Unofficial translation:

  • Article 47 - Water is a natural resource essential to life. Access to drinking water and access to saniation, constitute fundamental human rights.
    1) The national policy of Waters and Sanitation will be based on:
    a) The arranging of the territory, conservation and protection of the environment and restoration of nature.
    b) The sustainable management, solidarity with future generations, of water resources and preservation of the hydrologic cycle that constitute matters of general interest. Users and civil society, will take part in all instances of planning, management and control of water resources; establishing the hydrographic basins as basic units.
    c) The establishment of priorities for the use of water by regions, basins, or parts of them, being the first priority the supplying of drinkable water to populations.
    d) The principle by which the providing of the service of drinkable water and sewerage, will have to be done placing reasons of social order before those of economic order.
    Any authorization, concession or permission that goes in any way against these principles will have to be stopped with no consequences.
    2) Surface water, as well as groundwater, with the exception of rain, integrated in the hydrologic cycle, constitute a unitary resource, subordinated to the general interest, which is part of the state 's public domain, as hydraulic public domain.
    3) The public service of sanitation and the public service of water supplying for human consumption, will be served exclusively and directly by state legal persons.
    4) The law, by a three-fifth majority of the total of components of each Chamber, will be able to authorize supplying water to another country, when it is deprived of supplies and for reasons of solidarity.


Venezuela (Constitution, 1999)

  • Articulo 82 - Toda persona tiene derecho a una vivienda adecuada, segura, cómoda, higiénicas, con servicios básicos esenciales que incluyan un hábitat que humanice las relaciones familiares, vecinales y comunitarias. La satisfacción progresiva de este derecho es obligación compartida entre los ciudadanos y el Estado en todos sus ámbitos.

Unofficial Translation :

Article 82 - Every person has the right to an adequate house that is safe, comfortable, hygienic, and comes with essential basic services, providing an environment that humanizes the relationships within the family, the neighbourhood and the community. The progressive realization of this right is a shared responsibility of citizens and of the state at every level.


Zambia (Constitution, as amended in 1996)

  • Article 112 - The State shall endeavour to provide clean and safe water.