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The Right to Water

March 21, 2006

The 4th World Water Forum currently underway in Mexico City. It is a shame that the international community is backtracking on it’s commitment to basic human rights.


"Bolivia: Water is a human right

Bolivia is refusing to sign an international declaration on the importance of clean water because it falls short of calling access to it a human right.

The Bolivian water minister said on Monday that La Paz wanted to call supplies of clean water a human right in a document to be signed at the meeting this week.

‘It’s very clear that we all have a right to life and health," Abel Mamani said. "The right to life and right to health without water is contradictory.’

South America’s poorest country, increasingly vocal on the world stage since the election of Evo Morales as president, is resisting other nations and international bodies at the World Water Forum being held in Mexico City.

A draft of the declaration calls water important to the poor and to people’s health, but does not describe it as a human right."



"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family"

-Article 25, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)


"Water is the essence of life and human dignity. Water is fundamental to poverty reduction, providing people with elements essential to their growth and development. Recently, the Committe on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which monitors the implementation of the Covenant, adopted General Comment No. 15 in which water is recognized, not only as a limited natural resource and a public good but also as a human right. The right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physcially accssible and affordable water, and it must be enjoyed without discrimination and equally by women and men."

"Of the world’s population of 6 billion people, at least 1.1 billion do not have available sources of clean drinking-water"

"Human rights cannot be secured in a degraded or polluted environment. The fundamental right ot life is threated by soil degradation and deforestation and by exposures to toxic chemicals, hazardous wastes and contaminated drinking water… It is time to recognize that those who pollute or destroy the natural environment are not just committing a crime against nature, but are violating human rights as well."

-World Health Organization, The Right to Water, 2003

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