Thursday, 25 November 2010 9:55 AM

SIWA what say you: UN on Water and Sanitation

Dear Editor,

See below a news article from the UN on safe drinking water and sanitation. It is now recognised as a human right issue and is now legally binding. I would like to request some of our lawyers to look into this and assist ordinary citizens to rally for a vigorous shake up of SIWA. We have heard talks about reforms but haven't seen much change. We need the people's power to move this and this can be an additional tool to make in roads towards solving this problem.

UN news article:
RIGHT TO WATER AND SANITATION IS LEGALLY BINDING, AFFIRMS KEY UN BODY

New York, Oct 1 2010 11:05AM

The main United Nations body dealing with human rights has affirmed

that the right to water and sanitation is contained in existing human

rights treaties, and that States have the primary responsibility to

ensure the full realisation of this and all other basic human rights.



While the General Assembly declared in July that safe and clean

drinking water and sanitation is a human right essential to the full

enjoyment of life and all other human rights, this is the first time

that the Human Rights Council has declared itself on the issue.



"This means that for the UN, the right to water and sanitation, is

contained in existing human rights treaties and is therefore legally

binding," said the UN Independent Expert on human rights obligations

related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation, Catarina de

Albuquerque.



"This landmark decision has the potential to change the lives of the

billions of human beings who still lack access to water and

sanitation," she said of the resolution adopted yesterday by the

Geneva-based Council.



Almost 900 million people worldwide do not have access to clean water

and more than 2.6 billion people do not have access to basic

sanitation. Studies also indicate about 1.5 million children under the

age of five die each year and 443 million school days are lost because

of water- and sanitation-related diseases.



The Assembly's resolution recognized the fundamental right to clean

water and sanitation, but did not specify that the right entailed

legally binding obligations.



The Council closed this gap by clarifying the foundation for

recognition of the right and the legal standards which apply,

according to a news release.



"The right to water and sanitation is a human right, equal to all

other human rights, which implies that it is justiciable and

enforceable," said Ms. de Albuquerque. "Hence from today onwards we

have an even greater responsibility to concentrate all our efforts in

the implementation and full realization of this essential right."

________________

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Ronaldson Kay and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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