Sunday, October 03, 2010

U.N. Recognizes Water as a Universal Human Right; U.S. Senate Approves Water for the World Act

In a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday, officials affirmed that the right to water and sanitation is a universal human right that can be legally upheld. While access to water was confirmed as a human right in July of 2010, Thursday's meeting clarified the legal standards that accompany this important right.

This action by the Human Rights Council is significant because it makes the international right to clean water enforceable under law, as outlined in multiple international human rights treaties. "This landmark decision has the potential to change the lives of the billions of human beings who still lack access to water and sanitation," said Catarina de Albuquerque, the UN Independent Expert on human rights.

This progress toward Millennium Development Goal 7, which includes expanding worldwide access to clean drinking water and sanitation, is augmented by support from the United States: Last week, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Water for the World Act, which aims to provide 100,000,000 people with first-time access to drinking water. The bill has now moved to the House of Representatives for approval before it becomes a law. Contact your representatives to demand that they support this historic legislation!

-Elizabeth Newton

SOURCE: United Nations Human Rights,