Right to Water and Sanitation of Slum-Dwellers in Sri Lanka
Water is essential for life and proper sanitation is also an exquisite requirement for human wellbeing. Apparently, the right to water and sanitation inherently exists for every person on earth. But pathetically, there is a community commonly all over the world whose right to water and sanitation is neglected; and they are slum-dwellers. Slums are part of the city in many countries and they have become an integral part of urbanisation. Slum dwellers contribute to the economy in many ways but most of the countries fail to provide sufficient infrastructure for them. Due to the lack of proper housing conditions, those slum-dwellers face severe problems in their livelihood. Other than being homeless, health status is the most challenging issue for them. Their health status is greatly influenced by poor hygiene and sanitation and also lack of safe drinking water. This research was conducted in order to measure the guaranteed extent of the protection of the right to water and sanitation of slum dwellers. A community was selected and a field research was done in order to measure their right to water and sanitation and other related rights. The research was based on the right to water and sanitation of slum dwellers in Colombo, near Kelani River area at Sedawaththa. The first part of the paper gives an introduction about slum-dwellings and right to water and sanitation, is it a mere market good and why it should be a state implemented right. The second part gives an explanation about international and national standards of right to water and sanitation, and also some case law to justify the right. The third and fourth parts of the paper describe right to water and sanitation of slum-dwellers near Kelani River, and other related human rights respectively. The fifth part of the paper refers to observations and conclusion of the research. Finally, recommendations were presented based on the observations and conclusion.
Key words - Human rights, Livelihood, Right to water and sanitation, Slum-dwellers