No drinking water for 1,200,000,000 people

10 December 2008

No drinking water for 1,200,000,000 people

Today the world celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The most powerful, richest countries were celebrating, however, the fact that they have managed to prevent the right to water from being recognised. The SP took part in a demonstration in protest at this, held today outside the European Parliament in Brussels.

Kartika Liotard

Kartika Liotard, Member of the European Parliament for the SP was present at the demonstration, having spent the last few months looking into the EU's policies on water. Next spring will see the publication of her book on the subject. Co-authored with Steve McGiffen of the American Graduate School of International Relations in Paris, the book examines, amongst other things, the drive to privatise water supply.

“I've just signed the petition which states that water is vital to life, not vital to capital,” said Liotard. “The European Parliament has in fact declared access to fresh water to be a human right, but the most powerful countries are standing in the way of official recognition. At the same time multinationals which use a great deal of water, such as Coca Cola, Nestlé and Levi Strauss, have taken it on themselves to work out a global water plan which they intend to present at the corporate-financed Fifth World Water Forum in Istanbul next March.”

Liotard talking to demonstrators

More than 1,200,000,000 people have no access to clean water and more than twice that figure, 2,600,000,000, have no effective sanitation. As a result thirty thousand people a day die from water-borne diseases, according to a pamphlet distributed by activists in the Place du Luxembourg outside the European Parliament. Many passers-by signed the accompanying petition.

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