Calling out for the Human Right to Water on World Water Day: A European Citizens' Initiative

Statement for World Water Day 22 March 2012

On World Water Day EPSU is launching its campaign “water and sanitation are a human right”, “water is a public good, not a commodity” and the final steps to submit the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) are underway. Information on this campaign can be found at: www.right2water.eu.

Trade unionists from the European Public Services Unions and EPSU, environmental groups, anti-poverty campaigners and many citizens will campaign for the European Commission to take action and implement the right to water in the European Union. The aim is to collect one million signatures in different European countries. Unions presented their plans and campaigns for national collection at the World Water Forum in Marseille 14-15 March.

Over two million citizens in Europe lack access to water. The financial and economic crisis has put many low income households in difficulty and to the extent that they risk being cut off from safe and clear drinking water. This is a public health risk! Commercialisation of water resources is a real threat. The European Council of 30 January put the Liberalisation of water services (network services) on the European agenda. The European Commission and European governments seek to weaken the UN Human Right to Water by preventing clear and unambiguous commitments during the Rio +20 Conference. EPSU wants the promotion and implementation of the human right to water to become a central theme in EU development aid. Safe and clean drinking water is a right, not a charity.

EPSU General Secretary Carola Fischbach-Pyttel states: "Access to water is a Human Right. Public services such as water and sanitation should not be liberalised and dominated by commercial and corporate interests. A successful citizens initiative will give the message to the Commission and governments that citizens want a social Europe and reject the negative market and corporation driven Europe".

Organisations that have pledged support the ECI include the European Anti-poverty Network, the European Environmental Bureau, the European Trade Union Confederation, the European Public Health Alliance and Women in Europe for A Common Future.

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