For Immediate Release
Council Celebrates UN General Assembly Recognition of Human Right to Water
WASHINGTON - After over a decade of hard work, the global water justice movement
achieved a major victory today as the United Nations General Assembly
voted overwhelmingly in favour of recognizing water and sanitation as
human rights. The resolution – put forward by Bolivia and co-sponsored
by 35 states – passed overwhelmingly with 124 states voting in favour
and 42 abstaining.
“It was a great honour to be present as the UN General Assembly took
this historic step forward in the struggle for a just world,” says Maude
Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “It is sad
however, that Canada chose not to participate in this important moment
The organization is calling on states to build on this victory.
“This resolution has the overwhelming support of a strong majority of
countries, despite a handful of powerful opponents. It must now be
followed-up with a renewed push for water justice,” says Anil Naidoo,
Blue Planet Project organizer. “We are calling for actions on the ground
in communities around the world to ensure that the rights to water and
sanitation are implemented.
Governments, aid agencies and the UN must take their responsibilities seriously.”
As a result of this vote, the human right to water and sanitation is now
explicitly and formally recognized in international law.
“Canada's abstention from the vote will not excuse it from the work that
needs to be done to maintain and improve its public water and
sanitation systems for all peoples living in Canada, including
Indigenous communities who have lived for generations without adequate
infrastructure,” says Meera Karunananthan, national water campaigner at
the Council of Canadians.