1.1 Background
The United Nations General Assembly through the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights. The Resolution calls upon States and international organizations to provide progressive policy frameworks, financial resources, help capacity-building and technology transfer to help countries, in particular developing countries, to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all. In furthering this course, CESCR adopted General Comment No.15 on the right to water; as a “prerequisite for the realization of other human rights”. It also defines the right to water as the right of everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable and physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic uses.
1.2 Justification
In Kenya, the right to water and sanitation has been articulated under Article 43 of the Constitution. The constitution under Article 21 puts an obligation on the state to take steps including legislative, policy and standard setting towards achievement of these rights. Moreover, the state and its organs have a fundamental duty to observe, respect, protect and promote these rights. The constitution however, does not provide any direction or a framework to monitor the compliance of the government with its obligations towards water and sanitation rights. For this reason, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights in partnership with other water sector stakeholders sought to develop a framework for monitoring realization of the Right to Water and Sanitation in Kenya. The structure of this framework was partly borrowed from the 2014 Handbook by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation. The main components of this framework include policy and legislative review, service structure, financial & human resources and monitoring.