On the 10th anniversary of the UN resolution, the struggle for the human right to water continues

Published by Brent Patterson on

United Nations Special Rapporteur Léo Heller writes: “Ten years ago, on 28 July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 64/292, which explicitly recognized water and sanitation as a human right and acknowledged that water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights.”

In the countries where PBI is present, Heller notes that Mexico and Kenya have recognized the human right to water in their constitution, and that Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia and Nepal have recognized this right in national legislation.

The Special Rapporteur adds: “Despite all of the important efforts and progress achieved since 2010, too many people around the world are still waiting for the promise made by the General Assembly ten years ago to become a reality in their lives.”

In Kenya, PBI works with the Social Justice Centres Working Group, a collective voice for the social justice movement, that is demanding that “the government restore the water supply to all slums and crack down on the water cartels that extort Kenyans.”

In Mexico, PBI continues to express its concern that the Indigenous Mixe community of Ayutla, Oaxaca is still without drinking water three years after an attack on its water system.

In Guatemala, PBI has noted the impact of the climate crisis and the pollution from megaprojects on access to drinking water.

And in Colombia, with Canadian companies bidding for fracking pilot projects to be awarded this September/October, we share the concern expressed by Óscar Sampayo of the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking that: “We cannot allow the water resource, which is the most precious thing we have, to be affected.”

We also note that on unceded Indigenous territories and reserves within Canada the human rights to water and sanitation remain an unfulfilled promise. PBI-Canada has highlighted that the $19 billion the Canadian government intends to spend on new warplanes in 2022 would be better spent on fulfilling these rights.

We are also concerned by the impact on these rights by megaprojects in Canada, including the dismissal by the Supreme Court of Canada earlier this month of the appeal against the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline that passes through the aquifer of the C’eletkwmx people (Coldwater Indian Band) in British Columbia.

PBI-Canada celebrates the 10th anniversary of the UN’s recognition of the human rights to water and sanitation and supports the human rights defenders (HRDs) and land and environmental rights defenders (LERDs) who struggle for these rights to be realized.

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