UN vote declares right to clean water and sanitation a human right: U.S. abstains
The United Nations General Assembly declared today that clean drinking water and sanitation are human rights.
Rights to water have been included in conventions on the rights of women, children and those with disabilities, but never as a general human right.
Of the 192 member states: 122 voted in favor of the non-binding resolution, zero against and 41 abstained, including the United States.
John F. Sammis, Deputy Representative to the Economic and Social Council, explained in a statement that the U.S. felt the resolution potentially undermines work being done by the Switzerland-based Human Rights Council to situate a right to water within the body of international law.
According to Sammis’ statement: “The United States regrets that this resolution diverts us from the serious international efforts underway to promote greater coordination and cooperation on water and sanitation issues. This resolution attempts to take a short-cut around the serious work of formulating, articulating and upholding universal rights. It was not drafted in a transparent, inclusive manner, and the legal implications of a declared right to water have not yet been carefully and fully considered in this body or in Geneva.”
The U.S. mission to the U.N. declined to elaborate on the statement.
In 2008 the High Commissioner for Human Rights appointed an independent expert, Portuguese lawyer Catarina de Albuquerque, to investigate and clarify international human rights obligations pertaining to the rights to water and sanitation and to document best practices. Submitted last year, De Albuquerque’s first report focused on sanitation.
"John F. Sammis, Deputy Representative to the Economic and Social Council, explained in a statement that the U.S. felt the resolution potentially undermines work being done by the Switzerland-based Human Rights Council to situate a right to water within the body of international law."
Well gee, what a coincidence. Nestle's global headquarters are in Switzerland too. This is shameful to me. One vote does not negate another. Voting yes to this would simply verify that the U.S. stands up for clean water and sanitation as a human right. This constant obfuscation regarding interference with other work is just a cop out.
I would say it is a combination of self importance and arrogance mixed in with greed and selfishness that doesn't make for a very good recipe for human survival as it stands now. As far as water is concerned, it is the new commodity for rich countries, governments, militaries, and corporations to exploit. There is now a water market, and a water exchange coming into being much like the carbon exchange, which inflates value for profit at the expense of those who need it. The poor of this world are being bombarded by this corporate mentality that does not know what morals are. All they know is personal gain while making false choices.
I think that ultimately the decisions they make will come back to them personally, which they are blind to as well living in their little money bubbles. That is the one piece of this puzzle they are missing or refuse to see... that they too are part of the very world they are exploiting and sooner or later it will reach them. Perhaps that is then truly what needs to be seen on a global scale in order to see a real change in this world.
The bottomline is that WATER is the substance of life and it is being polluted, toxified, wasted, HYDROFRACKED, PRIVITIZED and now evaporated by climate change in the form of desertification, water evaporation, sea level rise, and glacier melt (along with erratic and changing rainfall patterns that are causing massive floods) at a pace that will see an exponential rise in unliveable, water scarce and drought stricken areas by 2030. That in turn will cause a mass migration of refugees looking for water to live. Which in turn will increase terrorist activity ( as we now see in Pakistan) and conflict which we see between India and Pakistan (as the Indus Water Treaty breaks down) China and India, African states, Israel and Palestine, Turkey and Iraq and as a matter of fact the whole MIddle East and perhaps to come the U.S. and Canada, and as predicted, a mass migration from Mexico to the U.S giving a whole new spin to the immigration "problem."
Protecting our most precious resource is now our primary moral imperative.