What We Do – WASH Advocacy

Next to being involved in the provision of WASH services to roughly 8 million refugees, UNHCR also advocates for the human rights of all persons of concern to UNHCR which include refugees, asylum seekers, returnees, the internally displaced and stateless people.

In the WASH context, UNHCR’s advocacy efforts mainly focus on the right to water and the right to sanitation which are recognized human rights by the United Nations General Assembly (e.g. resolutions GA 64/292 and GA 70/169).

These activities include, but are not limited to, UNHCR participation in the 1st World Summit on Leaving No One Behind ─ Human Rights Based Solutions for Access to Water and Sanitation; collaboration with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the context of UN Water and the inclusion of the human rights to water and sanitation in UNHCR’s internal Rights Mapping Tool (RiMa).

Working towards this important goal, a group of 10 UN Online Volunteers has supported UNHCR between July 2019 and July 2020. The volunteers have conducted a desk-based review to identify national legal instruments relating to the human rights to water and sanitation assessed the extent to which refugees, asylum seekers, IDPs, returnees and stateless persons are included in national laws and provisions around the rights to water and to sanitation in 18 countries. The results of this analysis have been included in the UNHCR Rights Mapping Tool (RiMa), an online data gathering tool that supports UNHCR operations to gather, consolidate and analyse relevant data affecting the enjoyment of right of persons of concern.

UNHCR is grateful to everyone involved on the project and in particular wishes to thank the UN Online Volunteers for their contributions:

Name Focus countries
Ms. Ana Duta Namibia
Ms. Salma Elabdouni Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia
Ms. Shazeah Elahee Lesotho
Ms. Camilla Kerambrun Madagascar
Ms. Larissa Lima Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia
Mr. Paul Lorentz Comoros, Seychelles
Ms. Kastle Lund-Turner Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi
Ms. Stella Nasirumbi Eswatini, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Ms. Dorottya Rozgonyi Malawi
Ms. Olga Sorgini Angola, Costa Rica, Mozambique

Support our work

WASH news and stories

V911 Part 1 - UNHCR Unified Documentation Approach to Water Well Construction

V911 Part 2 - UNHCR Unified Documentation Approach to Water Well Construction

V911 Part 3 - UNHCR Unified Documentation Approach to Water Well Construction