Kenyans have right to safe water and sanitation, says UN expert

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Catarina de Albuquerque. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Kenyans have a right to safe water and sanitation and existing water laws need to become reality, an independent UN human rights expert said after a trip to the country.

Thirteen percent of people in Kenya still defecate in the open.

Catarina de Albuquerque said that although Kenyans had rights to safe water and sanitation on paper, millions did not enjoy these rights in practice.

Open defection is a serious threat to the health and security of girls who have to walk into the bush at night, she noted.

Only 30 percent of Kenyans have access to improved sanitation.

Improper sanitation poses an economic cost to the Kenyan economy which loses 330 million dollars a year due to premature death, healthcare costs and productivity losses from a lack of access to adequate sanitation.

Ms de Albuquerque also noted that in rural areas the poorest people were forced to pay much more for their water at kiosks than rich people for water pipes.

She urged the government to address this issue as well.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’07″

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