Today the United Nations is holding a historic summit on the Human Right to Water. In 1948, when the Declaration of Human Rights was written, few, if any, predicted that we’d be having a global water crisis and wars over water resources 60 years later.
Now, world leaders are voting on a resolution to decide if ‘Access to clean water and sanitation’ should be a human right.
The vote that’s taking place today, as set forward by Bolivia, is not about infrastructure, or sorting out how water and sanitation should be provided. It’s about recognising water as a human right, the same way that dignity and the right to life, liberty and security of person are.
This is the part that makes my blood boil. There are countries that are opposed to this. It’s astounding.
One of which is Canada, my home and native land. Why Canada, why? The Canadian government has very openly expressed opposition to the resolution. I feel ashamed. Could it be because now the government would have to act in native Canadian communities where water sources are of a developing world standard? Or is it because this would be potenially having to share our abundance of fresh clean water with others?
David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the UK is also opposed to the resolution. Apparently he’s cool with the access to water part, but not the whole sanitation bit.
Not surprising, the US also rejects the resolution, as do Turkey and Egypt who fear boundary disputes once the resolution is passed. These are the problems that arise when a human right also happens to be a dimishing commodity, essential to industry, agriculture and life.
Getting countries to vote on water becoming a human right is not just incredibly important, but water is a fundemental, indisputable, basic human need.