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Monday, March 23, 2009

Water not recognized as human right in forum statement

A week-long international conference ended Sunday in Istanbul with a statement that recognizes access to safe drinking water as a "basic human need," but not a "human right," as some delegates had proposed.

The statement, coinciding with the United Nations' World Water Day, was issued at the end of a three-day ministerial meeting at the 5th annual World Water Forum in the Turkish city.

"We acknowledge the discussions with the UN system regarding human rights and access to safe drinking water and sanitation. We recognize that access to safe drinking water and sanitation is a basic human need," the statement said.

Dissenting countries challenge declaration

The lack of binding protocols at the forum, held every three years to safeguard the world's freshwater supplies, prompted about 20 dissenting member countries to issue their own declaration, defining safe drinking water as a human right.

Countries that tried to beef up the wording of the official statement were blocked by Brazil, Egypt and the United States, Agence France Presse reported.


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