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UN To Recognize Fundamental Human Right To Water

UN Set To Finally Recognize Fundamental Human Right To Water

Ottawa - The United Nations General Assembly is considering an historic draft resolution recognizing the human right to "safe and clean drinking water and sanitation" initiated by the Bolivian government. Other member states have been consulted on the resolution and the final text is expected to be presented to the President of the General Assembly, for tabling by the end of July.

In a letter sent today to all UN Ambassadors and permanent missions, global water advocate and Blue Planet Project founder Maude Barlow urges a decisive and swift passage of the resolution. The letter is available online at: www.blueplanetproject.net.

“This would be one of the most important things the UN has done since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” says Barlow, who chairs the boards of the Council of Canadians and Washington-based Food and Water Watch. In 2008/2009, Barlow served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the UN General Assembly.

“It’s time politics caught up with reality,” says Barlow, noting that nearly two billion people live in water-stressed areas of the world and three billion have no running water within a kilometre of their homes. “It’s time states finally recognize water as essential to life and a fundamental human right.”

Barlow and Blue Planet Project Organizer, Anil Naidoo, recently briefed the G77 and China on the right to water and along with an international team of water activists met with representatives of 25 countries last week to advance the issue. Naidoo will be in New York next week meeting with UN member states to build additional support for the right to water resolution.

“International and local community groups fighting for water justice have long been calling for leadership from the UN in clearly recognizing that water and sanitation are human rights,” says Naidoo. “As this moves forward we are demanding that the language of the resolution remain strong and leave no doubt that water and sanitation are human rights.”

“When the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights was written, no one could foresee a day when water would be a contested area. But in 2010, it is not an exaggeration to say that the lack of access to clean water is the greatest human rights violation in the world,” adds Barlow in the letter.

ENDS

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