Sanitation is rarely discussed—after all, what we do with toilets is not usually a topic for polite company. For some of us, the very existence of World Toilet Day seems like a joke. The problem is that many people don’t have a toilet, or any other form of sanitation. In fact, 2.6 billion people don’t. It’s a basic service – and a fundamental human right – that most of us take for granted, but one that is currently denied to 40% of the world’s population.
In preparation for the upcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Rashida Manjoo, recently released a report on her 2011 mission—conducted at the invitation of the U.S. Government—to the United States. This was the first visit of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women since 1998, and her findings suggest both progress and a call to action.
The report affirms that women in the United States experience violence. No surprise there, but it is a clear indication that violence against women (VAW) knows no national, political, ethnic, religious, or socio-economic boundaries; it happens here, it happens everywhere.