by Amanda Klasing, Annerieke Smaak, Richard Pearshouse et al.
Human Rights Watch, 2017
Lack of sanitation is a pervasive human rights concern globally that impacts other rights, including gender equality. While not an exact marker of the status of the right to sanitation, as of 2015, 2.4 billion people around the world are estimated to be using unimproved sanitation facilities, defined as those that do not hygienically separate human excreta from human contact. Lack of sanitation is not only an affront to an individual’s dignity and rights, but endangers the rights to the highest attainable standard of health and to safe drinking water of other people because of the contaminating nature of human feces. Nearly a billion people practice open defecation – which has been linked to malnutrition, stunting, and increased diarrheal disease, among other negative impacts.