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States should ensure right to water and sanitation: UN

UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation Catarina Albuquerque [official profile] on Wednesday strongly urged [news release] nations to support the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation during the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) [official website] that will take place in Brazil later this month. Albuquerque stated in an open letter [text, PDF] to States negotiating the Outcome Document of the Rio+20 Summit that a "sustainable development target for water and sanitation should aim at achieving access to safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all without discrimination, in sufficient quantities to protect human health and dignity, particularly for the most marginalized." She noted that the commitment to water and sanitation would be ineffective if the human right to such is not guaranteed. With that she pointed out that the language of the outcome document does not explicitly guarantee the right to water and sanitation.

The UN General Assembly [official website] in 2010 adopted [JURIST report] a resolution [materials] declaring that access to clean and sanitized drinking water is a basic human right. It was passed by a vote of 122-0 with 41 member states abstaining.

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