Noah Cross lives.
And here’s a link to Irena Salina’s prize-winning documentary,/ For Love
* Access to clean water is most violated human right*
By Maude Barlow
/The world’s running out of clean water. Unless the UN acts, the private
sector will appropriate supplies and the poor will suffer/
/A boy takes a bath, right, as another fills a kettle from a tap at the
Kamakhya temple in Gauhati, India. Photograph: Anupam Nath/AP
On 28 July, for the first time ever, the general assembly of the United
Nations <http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/unitednations> will hold a
historic summit on the human right to water
It will consider and debate a resolution supporting the right to “safe
and clean drinking water and sanitation
<http://www.boliviaun.org/cms/?p=1612>” that was presented on 17 June by
Pablo Solon, the Bolivian ambassador to the UN, and co-sponsored by 23
other countries. The desired outcome of the day is consensus on
recognising the human right to water
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/water>. However, some governments
are withholding consensus and it appears likely that the resolution will
have to be put to a vote, a process that has the potential to divide the
world body along north/south lines.
When the 1948 universal declaration on human rights
<http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/> 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 one of the
greatest human rights <http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/human-rights>
violation in the world. Nearly 2 billion people live in water-stressed
areas of the world and 3 billion have no running water within a
kilometre of their homes. Every eight seconds a child dies
a waterborne disease, in every case preventable if their parents had
money to pay for water. And it is getting worse as the world runs out of
A new World Bank reports says that by 2030, global demand for water will
exceed supply by more than 40%
a shocking prediction that foretells of terrible suffering.
For several years, international and local community groups fighting for
water justice have been calling for a UN commitment that clarifies once
and for all that no one should be denied water for life because of an
inability to pay, especially in the light of the water markets
now being set up, allowing the wealthy to appropriate dwindling water
supplies for private profit. The fact that water is not now recognized
as a human right has allowed decision-making over water policy to shift
from the UN and governments to institutions such as the World Bank, the
World Water Council and the World Trade Organisation, which favour
Support for the human right to water has been steadily growing in recent
years but several wealthy countries – notably the UK, US, Canada and
Australia – have emerged as negative forces, finding excuses not to
support the resolution in its current form. The new Conservative
government of David Cameron is already on record that it will oppose
this resolution unless it is amended to remove sanitation and only refer
to “access” to clean water, not the human right to water itself. Canada
hides behind the false claim that such a resolution might force it to
share its water with the US; Australia has gone the route of water
markets and so is unlikely to sign onto a commitment that would favour
public ownership of water; and it disappointedly appears that the Obama
administration is not charting a new course for his country when it
comes to human rights obligations at the UN.
Nevertheless, there is great hope that 28 July will see a historic
commitment of the nations of the world to once and forever recognise
that every human on earth has the right to safe, clean drinking water
and the dignity of good sanitation services. Will the crisis be solved
the day after a successful vote on the human right to water? Of course
not. The work to provide clean water in a world of diminishing supplies
is just beginning.
But every now and then, humanity takes a collective step forward in its
evolution. Such a time has come again and we must be up for this challenge.
“While We Were Sleeping”
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