ACTION ALERT: US Opposes "Water as a Human Right"
March 23, 2009
Wenonah Hauter / Executive Director, Food & Water Watch
We've flooded Congress with more than 17,000 messages objecting to the actions by US representatives at the World Water Forum in Turkey, which removed language declaring water as a human right and public good from the final ministerial document. Help us get to 50,000!
ISTANBUL (March 21, 2009) — The World Water Forum ended on Sunday, March 22, World Water Day. Our international activists are doing their best here in Turkey. We need every voice. More details soon...
In the meantime, we've flooded Congress with more than 17,000 messages objecting to the actions by US representatives at the World Water Forum in Turkey, which removed language declaring water as a human right and public good from the final ministerial document. Help us get to 50,000!
If you haven't already, please take a minute to contact your member of Congress about the actions of these US representatives and make sure to forward this to your friends.
US representatives in Turkey are still trying to make water part of the corporate profit margin and it's important that you continue shining a light on what is happening in Turkey. Honor the water that is essential to our lives and communities by contacting your elected officials here.
Please support World Water Day events in your community. Check out the Food & Water Watch calendar to find out how you too can celebrate our precious resource.
Food & Water Watch a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that runs cutting-edge campaigns to help ensure clean water and safe food. Talk to us:
Protect our right to water.
If you don't speak out, our access to
clean, safe, affordable water is at risk
Many countries around the world already support the human right to water, which builds a framework of international law that provides for accessible, clean, drinking water for all. But thanks to holdover staff from the Bush Administration, the United States has recently and appallingly removed language that references the human right to water from the ministerial declaration of the 5th World Water Forum underway in Istanbul, Turkey.
This is a step backward for all those who have worked to establish the legal precedent in international law to affirm the human right to water. It is time to declare water a human right and a public good.
Your voice is needed immediately. Write to Congress now.
The Message: Make Water a Human Right
Dear Congress Member:
As your constituent and as a supporter of water rights for all, I am writing to you to ask you and the United States to stand with other allied nations in recognizing the human right to water. During recent negotiations of the 5th World Water Forum ministerial declaration, our country's representatives played a key role in removing language that supported the “human right to water,” replacing it instead with the “human need for water.” This is a step backward for all those who have worked to establish the legal precedent in international law to affirm the human right to water.
It is time to declare water a human right and a public good. The global water statistics are heartbreaking:
* 1.4 billion people live without clean drinking water.
* Two-fifths of the world’s population lacks access to proper sanitation.
* Every eight seconds a child dies from drinking dirty water.
* Half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by people with an easily preventable waterborne disease.
* 80 percent of all sickness and disease worldwide is related to contaminated water, according to the World Health Organization.
* Dirty water kills more children than war, malaria, HIV/AIDS and traffic accidents combined.
While it has been argued that there is no international consensus on the existence of a right to water and sanitation, such rights have been enshrined in two ministerial-level declarations of the United Nations. Principle 2 of the Cairo Programme of Action adopted at the 1994 Conference on Population and Development states that, “Human beings…have the right to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families, including adequate food, clothing, housing, water and sanitation.” This Programme of Action was signed by all 177 states participating in the conference—including the United States.
Article 11 of the 1996 Habitat Agenda, adopted at the Habitat II Conference in Istanbul states, “Everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families, including adequate food, clothing, housing, water and sanitation, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.” This Habitat Agenda was signed by all 171 states participating in the Habitat II Conference—including the United States.
Finally, governmental negotiations regarding global water policy should be conducted exclusively within the United Nations framework. The World Water Council, which convenes the World Water Forum, is led by the CEOs of Veolia, Suez and other multinational water companies—a fact that delegitimizes any ministerial negotiation. While there can be a place for the private sector in water provision, it is certainly not in ownership or public policy.
Thank you for considering the concerns raised in this letter and for taking action. The right to water affects every woman, man and child in the world. Without water, there is no life. Please stand with your constituents to affirm the human right to water and water as a public good. This is an important step to take to create an international body of law protecting the right to water.
I look forward to hearing back from you about your actions to make sure water is a human right.