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Steve Cockburn on the human right to water

15 October 2010

There’s a very interesting blog by LCID’s Steve Cockburn over on the Progress site about the Tories pulling out of the process to recognise the right to water.

In July the UK abstained on a UN resolution tabled by the president of Bolivia recognising access to water and sanitation as a human right, due to its status as the second biggest cause of under-five deaths in the world. Then just a month ago, Her Majesty’s government ‘disassociated itself from a Human Rights Council resolution that made this legally binding’ – the diplomatic equivalent of picking up your football and storming home.

This puts us in some unfortunate company, as one of only 12 countries who fail to recognise the right. And Steve makes the importance of the issue clear:

Lack of access to water and sanitation is a perfect example. Those who suffer most are also the most powerless – the girls who drop out of school because of poor sanitation facilities, the rural women kept out of work because they must walk hours every day for water, the women in slums who risk sexual assault when travelling to distant toilets every night, the 1.5 million children under-5 who die of diarrhoeal diseases every year.Because they lack power, they are often ignored. National policies can be blind to the poorest communities, donor funding weakest in the poorest countries, and water sources threatened by resource-hungry industries paying scant regard to the needs of local populations.

You can read the blog post in its entirety over at Progress.

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