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HRC45: Nordic and Baltic countries highlight importance of menstrual health in dialogue with special rapporteur on water and sanitation

NORDIC-BALTIC STATEMENT
Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation
15 September 2020
 [Check against Delivery]
Mdm. President,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries.

We thank the Special Rapporteur for his report, which addresses key components that must be present to ensure the rights to water and sanitation for all.

Menstruation is a natural part of life for the 1.8 billion women, girls, transgender- and non-binary persons of reproductive age. Yet, millions across the world lack access to safe and private water and sanitation, thereby being unable to manage menstrual cycles in a dignified, healthy way. This particularly affects refugees, internally displaced, women with disabilities, detained, imprisoned or homeless.

Lack of menstrual health management such as access to water, sanitation, and menstrual products combined with stigma often leads to girls skipping school. It negatively affects women’s participation in work, social events, religious ceremonies, and may affect their mental health. COVID-19 has amplified the importance of access to clean water and sanitation. During this crisis, we remain fully committed to sexual and reproductive health and rights, including access to water and sanitation for menstrual health. Due to the consequences of climate change, we all need to redouble efforts in prioritizing these rights.

Mr Heller,

How do we best realize the rights to water and sanitation, including for menstrual health during the COVID-19 crisis?
Thank you.