After more than a decade of hard work, the global water justice movement achieved a major victory July 28, 2010 when the U.N. General Assembly asserted a global right to water and sanitation. The resolution, initiated by the Bolivian government and sponsored by 32 others, passed with 122 in favour, none opposed, and 41 abstentions, including Canada.
"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," declared Maude Barlow, who chairs both the Council Of Canadians and Washington based Food and Water Watch.
"Canada's abstention from the vote will not excuse it from the work that needs to be done to maintain and improve its public water and sanitation systems for all peoples living in Canada, including Indigenous communities who have lived for generations without adequate infrastructure," says Meera Karunananthan, national water campaigner at the Council of Canadians.
"We are calling for actions on the ground in communities around the world to ensure that the rights to water and sanitation are implemented." Added Anil Naidoo, Blue Planet Project organizer.
Some 884 million people lack access to safe drinking water, more than 2.6 billion have no basic sanitation and around 1.5 million children under age 5 die each year from water- and sanitation-linked diseases.
View July 28, 2010 Reuters article
View July 28, 2010 Council of Canadians press release
View July 28, 2010 UN press release
View July 27, 2010 Toronto Star article
View UN Resolution (A/64/L.63/REV.1) "The human right to water and sanitation" (PDF)
Source: Reuters, Toronto Star