Water is a Human Right

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the struggle for Palestinian water justice in 5 mins!!

A number of UN bodies have found Israel to be in violation of the human rights to water and sanitation as part of their normal review of Israel's compliance with human rights conventions Israel ratified in 1991.  Yet Israel's violations are only increasing.  Between 2009 and 2011, Israel demolished 57 rain harvesting cisterns and 40 wells Palestinians depend on for their livelihoods.

On July 28, 2010 the UN General Assembly passed a resolution recognizing “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of the right to life.” Two months later, on September 30, 2010, the UN Human Rights Council issued a resolution recognizing the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation as “derived from the right to an adequate standard of living” and “inextricably related to the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as well as the right to life and human dignity.” 

As global water rights warrior Maude Barlow explains in her report Our Right to Water: A People’s Guide to Implementing the United Nations’ Recognition of the Right to Water and Sanitation: “the Council went further than the General Assembly by specifying that the right to safe drinking water and sanitation has been part of international law and reaffirmed that governments have the primary responsibility for the realization of all human rights, including the right to water and sanitation.” The UN News Centre reports that the Council’s resolution specifies that the right to water and sanitation is now “justiciable and enforceable.” 

It is important to question what do these UN resolutions recognizing the human right to water and sanitation mean in the context of Palestine/Israel where Israel is defying with impunity UN resolutions recognizing the right of return of Palestinian refugees displaced in 1948, calling for an end to Israeli military rule of lands occupied in 1967, and many resolutions calling on Israel to end the demolition of Palestinian homes and confiscation of Palestinian lands in Jerusalem. [1]

On the ground locally/globally, UN recognition of the rights to water and sanitation and independent rulings that Israel is violating the human rights to water and sanitation are being used as a springboard for campaigns to put real pressure on Israel to end its violations. 






[1] Israel has defied or is defying many of the 224 UN resolutions directly concerning Israel issued over the course of nearly 45 years.  A complete list of the 224 resolutions may be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_Nations_resolutions_concerning_Israel