Right to water and sanitation: finally declared legally binding in international law
Updated - Tuesday 19 October 2010
The UN Human Rights Council has finally recognised the right to water and sanitation as legally binding in international law, in a landmark decision adopted on 30 September 2010. The UN affirmed by consensus that the right to water and sanitation is derived from the right to an adequate standard of living, as contained in several international human rights treaties. The Governments of Germany and Spain had tabled the resolution.
“In 160 countries in all regions of the world, governments can no longer deny their legal responsibility to ensure provision of safe water and sanitation services for the billions of poor people lacking access”, said the Executive Secretary for Freshwater Action Network (FAN) Danielle Morley.
The affirmation comes after 120 countries voted in favour of a resolution recognising the fundamental right to water and sanitation at the UN General Assembly in New York on 28 July 2010 .
Now the challenge is to translate the international agreement into action at national level. “This is real success for sanitation and water, but you can’t drink words and rights – we need concrete action on the ground”, said WaterAid’s Head of Campaigns Kate Norgrove.
 Right to water and sanitation: UN General Assembly passes landmark resolution, Source Weekly, 08 Sep 2010
Read the full text of UN Resolution A/HRC/15/L.14
Related web sites:
- COHRE - Right to Water
- OHCHR - Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation
- The Right to Water
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