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People’s Guide to the UN Human Right to Water and Sanitation

June 21st, 2011

Photo by Living Water International

The Council of Canadians has released a new report titled Our Right to Water: A People’s Guide to Implementing the United Nations’ Recognition of the Right to Water and Sanitation. Chairperson Maude Barlow wrote the report, available from the Council of Canadians.

On July 28, 2010 the General Assembly passed a non-binding resolution recognizing the Human Right to Water and Sanitation. Two months later, the UN Human Rights Council recognized the human right to water and sanitation in a similar resolution, setting out exactly what this new right entails for governments. Because the Human Rights Council resolution is based on two existing treaties, it rendered binding the first right to water resolution passed by the General Assembly. In other words, as the UN acknowledges, “The right to water and sanitation is a human right, equal to all other human rights, which implies that it is justiciable and enforceable.”

“All governments are now bound by these historic UN resolutions. Whether or not they voted for the two resolutions, every member nation of the UN is now obligated to accept and recognize the human right to water and sanitation and come up with a plan of action based on the obligation to respect, the obligation to protect and the obligation to fulfil these new rights,” says Barlow.

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