Access to Clean Water & Sanitation now a Human Right: UN
Microfinance Focus, Aug 3, 2010: United Nations’ General Assembly has adopted a Resolution recognizing access to Clean Water and Sanitation as a Human Right. Getting 122 votes in favour with 41 abstentions, it has adopted the resolution calling on States and international organizations to provide financial resources, build capacity and transfer technology, particularly to developing countries, in scaling up efforts to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all. The Assembly expressed deep concern that some 884 million people were without access to safe drinking water and more than 2.6 billion lacked access to basic sanitation.  Bearing in mind the commitment to fully achieve the Millennium Development Goals, it expressed alarm that 1.5 million children under five years old died each year as a result of water- and sanitation-related diseases, acknowledging that safe, clean drinking water and sanitation were integral to the realization of all human rights. Introducing the text, Bolivia’s representative said the human right to water had not been fully recognized, despite references to it in various international instruments.  Lack of access to water killed more children annually than AIDS, malaria and measles combined, while the lack of sanitation affected 2.6 billion people, or 40 per cent of the global population, he pointed out.  The upcoming summit to review progress on the Millennium Development Goals must provide a clear signal that water and sanitation were human rights, he emphasized, reiterating that the right to drinking water and sanitation was essential for the full enjoyment of life. The draft resolution urged States and international organizations to provide resources and to foster the transfer of technology to developing countries, with a view to providing access to water and sanitation. The right to drinking water and sanitation was essential for the full enjoyment of life.  It was not enough to urge States to comply with their obligations; they must be urged to protect the right to drinking water and sanitation.

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