ISTANBUL, March 22 /CNW Telbec/ - Over twenty countries have officially
challenged the Ministerial declaration released today at the World Water
Forum, which defines water as a human need rather than a human right, through
Latin American States have played a key role in gathering signatures onto
a declaration that recognizes access to water and sanitation as a human right
and commits to all necessary action for the progressive implementation of this
...The People's Water Forum, a civil society and labour coalition
representing nearly 70 countries, has called for water to be recognized as a
human right and for an end to the World Water Forum.
"This is a victory for all our groups who have been working for over 15
years for water to be recognized as a human right," says Maude Barlow, senior
advisor to the President of the UN General Assembly.
Discussions are ongoing and more countries are expected to sign on to the
Sunday, March 22, 2009 According to Maude Barlow, Canada and the United States were the only two countries that had gone on the record at the UN in blocking a resolution that would see access to water and sanitation recognized as a human right. "Recognizing water as a human right is vital to ensuring that governments address the reality of more than a billion people who are currently without access to clean water," Barlow said. "Unsafe water and sanitation are the source of 85 per cent of all disease and one in every six people on Earth has no access to clean drinking water.
What is a human right?Human rights are protected by internationally guaranteed standards that ensure the
fundamental freedoms and dignity of individuals and communities.They include civil,
cultural, economic, political and social rights. Human rights principally concern the relationship
between the individual and the State.Governmental obligations with regard to
human rights can broadly be categorized in obligations to respect, protect, and fulfil.
Respect. The obligation to respect requires that States Parties (that is, governments
ratifying the treaty) refrain from interfering directly or indirectly with the enjoyment
of the right to water.
Protect. The obligation to protect requires that States Parties prevent third parties
such as corporations from interfering in any way with the enjoyment of the
right to water.
Fulfil. The obligation to fulfil requires that States Parties adopt the necessary
measures to achieve the full realization of the right to water.
Everyone has the right to a standard of living
adequate for the health and well-being
of himself and of his family.
— Article 25, Universal Declaration of
Human Rights (1948)
Article 12 of the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognizes “the right of everyone to the enjoyment
of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.” Article 24 of
the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) further guaranteed that children
are entitled to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, which
requires States Parties to take appropriate measures to combat disease and malnutrition,
including within the framework of primary health care (which includes the provision
of clean drinking-water) (UNHCHR, 1989).