PBI-Honduras accompanied COPINH highlights “Water is not for sale, it is cared for and defended!”

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo by Digis Mak.

On December 8, COPINH tweeted: “Faced with the news that water will be listed on the futures market, the organization and articulation in defense of water is becoming increasingly urgent. Water is not for sale, it is cared for and defended!”

On December 7, EFE reported: “Water, the basis of life on Earth, began trading on the commodity futures market on Monday due to the scarcity of this good, the price of which will now fluctuate as oil, gold or wheat do, CME Group reported today.”

That article adds: “Although the index is based on the prices of California’s major river basins, where water scarcity has increased, this value may be used as a benchmark for the rest of the world in water markets.”

Digis Mak notes: “What has started to trade on Wall Street is not the water itself, but the rights of use.” And CNN explains: “The new futures market could also invite speculation from financial players, including hedge funds.”

The Toronto, Canada-based global investment bank RBC Capital Markets says: “Climate change, droughts, population growth, and pollution are likely to make water scarcity issues and pricing a hot topic for years to come. We are definitely going to watch how this new water futures contract develops.”

But Pedro Arrojo, the UN Special Rapporteur for the human rights to drinking water and sanitation, says: “These exchanges of concessions are in flagrant contradiction with the bases with which a public good is administered, rather than making it more flexible, this is the free market that does business with water, suddenly someone makes money by selling a right that the State has given for free.”

On July 28, 2010, the United Nations General Assembly, through Resolution 64/292, recognized the human rights to water and sanitation and further acknowledged that these rights are essential to the realization of all human rights.

In October 2019, the then-UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, Léo Heller, presented his thematic report The Impact of Mega-Projects on The Human Rights to Water and Sanitation to the UN General Assembly.

A year prior to his report, a Honduran court ruled that the murder of COPINH co-founder Berta Cáceres was ordered by executives of the Agua Zarca dam company, Desa, because of delays and financial losses linked to protests led by Cáceres.

In April 2015, less than a year before she was killed, Cáceres said in her acceptance speech for prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize: “Let us wake up! We’re out of time. We must shake our conscience free of the rapacious capitalism, racism and patriarchy that will only assure our own self-destruction.”

The Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project began accompanying the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) in May 2016, three months after the murder of Cáceres.

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