human rights to water and sanitation
People living without safe water and toilets are not victims of tragic circumstance. The source of the water and sanitation crisis is neither scarcity nor lack of technology. This crisis results from decisions made by those in power. From colonial legacies. From climate crises. From systemic discrimination against marginalised groups. From prioritising profit over people.
Since the launch of the Claim Your Water Rights campaign in December 2019, VAREN has engaged duty-bearers and rights-holders to work together for the common good of humanity. In the advent of Covid-19 we escalated our efforts to support and mobilise children and community gatekeepers to demand their water rights from duty-bearers.
On 22 March 2021, the United Nations celebrates World Water Day. The official theme of this day is “Valuing Water”, a title that should ring alarm bells: there is only a short step between the idea of value and the idea of price! Yet, ascribing nature a financial value is a growing phenomenon, which has just culminated in the listing on the derivates exchange of the most essential element for humanity and life: water.
Between 13 February and 20 March, Media for Community Empowerment (MACS) aired #ClaimYourWaterRights radio shows in Morogoro and Zanzibar, Tanzania. MACS' work is part of End Water Poverty's international mobilisation campaign, which aims to awaken people to the injustice of water shortages and spur them to claim their human rights to safe water and sanitation.
28 July marked the tenth anniversary of the human rights to water and sanitation. Without a vaccine, handwashing remains the most effective way of slowing the “still accelerating” Covid-19 pandemic. Yet billions of people cannot protect themselves or their family from infection: how can you wash your hands if you don’t have safe water?
Get to know the newest member of our global coalition: Tanzania Women Empowerment in Action (TAWEA). From exposing human rights abuses linked to deforestation, child labour and mercury-contaminated water, to advocating for refugees' rights to handwashing facilities amid Covid-19, TAWEA's work is varied and vital.
COVID 19 has shifted global attention to the vital importance of safe water in the fight against the spread of diseases. Governments, civil society and the private sector have gone into overdrive to drum home the need for handwashing. This is great! However, there is very little mention of the people whose safe water supply is regularly disconnected or about to be disconnected.
The global coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the vital importance of access to water and sanitation. 10 years after the United Nations recognised the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, the situation is critical: 2.2 billion people, 1 in 3, are still without access to safe drinking water.