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51st Session of the Human Rights Council: Nordic-Baltic Statement - D with SR on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation

Human Rights Council - 51st session

Item 3: ID with SR on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation

Statement by Iceland on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic Countries (NB8)

14 September 2022



Mr President,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries.

We thank the Special Rapporteur for his report.

We firmly belief that safe drinking water and sanitation is not only a human right; it is also central to living a life in dignity.

Lack of access to quality water and sanitation disproportionately affects women and girls; and indigenous women and girls are no exception. Discriminatory norms and structures, gender stereotypes, and stigma and taboos related to menstruation and child birth seriously affect the realization of the right to water and sanitation. The multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination that indigenous women and girls face need to be taken into account.

With growing global water scarcity and contamination, indigenous women and girls are increasingly forced to walk longer distances to fetch water. With this, the risk of sexual and gender-based violence, discrimination and exploitation and lack of autonomy increases.

Despite indigenous women’ and girls’ irrefutable live-saving water role, they remain under-represented in consultative processes and decision-making about water management. The vast majority of water-related laws and programmes fail to include their knowledge. Essentially, their effective participation is not guaranteed. This must change.

Mr. Special Rapporteur, what more can be done to guarantee indigenous women’s and girls’ seat at the table?


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