Monday, 26 July 2010

Oh, Look! Another New ‘Human Right’!

Maude Barlow chairs the boards of the council of Canadians and Washington-based Food and Water Watch.

And she’s invented a new human right:
On 28 July, for the first time ever, the general assembly of the United Nations will hold a historic summit on the human right to water. It will consider and debate a resolution supporting the right to "safe and clean drinking water and sanitation" that was presented on 17 June by Pablo Solon, the Bolivian ambassador to the UN, and co-sponsored by 23 other countries. The desired outcome of the day is consensus on recognising the human right to water.
Oh, FFS!
When the 1948 universal declaration on human rights was written, no one could foresee a day when water would be a contested area.
I suspect no-one would have foreseen a lot of the things that now get classed as ‘human rights’. If they had, they might well have thrown up their hands in disgust and called the whole thing off…
But in 2010, it is not an exaggeration to say that the lack of access to clean water is one of the greatest human rights violation in the world.
Actually, sweetie, yes, it IS an exaggeration to say that.

Particularly since, as it currently hasn’t been accepted as such, it isn’t a human right. Yet
The fact that water is not now recognized as a human right has allowed decision-making over water policy to shift from the UN and governments to institutions such as the World Bank, the World Water Council and the World Trade Organisation, which favour market solutions.
Oh, noes! Market solutions!
Support for the human right to water has been steadily growing in recent years but several wealthy countries – notably the UK, US, Canada and Australia – have emerged as negative forces, finding excuses not to support the resolution in its current form.
Of course they are ‘finding excuses’. It couldn’t possibly be that they have reached a different conclusion to you, can it, sweetie? That’s unpossible!
The new Conservative government of David Cameron is already on record that it will oppose this resolution unless it is amended to remove sanitation and only refer to "access" to clean water, not the human right to water itself.
Now, I wonder why they removed the ‘sanitation’ reference..?

9 comments:

indigomyth said...

One of the most shameful results of this kind of activity, is that it brings the idea of "Human Rights", universal laws which define the limits of coercion and violence, into disrepute.

I am very enthusiastic and supportive of Human Rights, but it is getting to the stage where, if you say such a thing, you then have to have a three hour discussion about positive and negative rights etc.

Mick Turatian said...

What? No sanitation?

So bidets will continue to be the perquisites of corrupt political elites in the third world?

For shame.

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

Mick Turatian, practically everything will continue to be the perquisites of corrupt political elites in the third world, and all the whining imaginable by leftards in the first world has only the effect of making those whining leftards feel good about themselves.

(Since that's what whining leftards are chiefly concerned with, I suppose that counts as a success.)

Mick Turatian said...

Brian,

that's depressing. Deprived of sanitary ware, the huddled masses of the developing world can't even lose their chains, then?

Anonymous said...

The parts of the world where clean water, and effective sewage treatment, are available to all are all areas where people pay for the provision of both. This is true regardless of how we pay, we do pay.

Just as we pay for our food, shelter, clothing, fuel, transport, and every other blimmin thing we want.

It's no use declaring these things as human rights, as if that would make any difference to facts on the ground. The truth is, only in developed societies, with democratic accountability, the rule of law, and free trade, are you able to enforce your human rights.
And we are not stopping anyone else setting that arrangement up.

What this harpy wants to do really, is create some sort of new "responsibility", levelled upon the west, to pay even more money to the head-banging badlands of the world. She can take a long walk, off a short pier.

Monty

Fascist Hippy said...

An eye should be kept on everything to do with the provision of clean water and more importantly who is providing it (thus in control of it's supply) as in time water will become a very big issue. You can forget oil, gas and minerals etc. there could be a time in the future when these things have no worth, the human race can survive without such things but not without water.

English Viking said...

Good grief, not another one.

How about my right not to be told what to think.

LEAVE ME ALONE!

JuliaM said...

"One of the most shameful results of this kind of activity, is that it brings the idea of "Human Rights", universal laws which define the limits of coercion and violence, into disrepute."

Indeed. As with all things 'slippery slope', the initial idea is noble, but then...

"So bidets will continue to be the perquisites of corrupt political elites in the third world?"

And Mercedes and Savile Row suite and... ;)

"It's no use declaring these things as human rights, as if that would make any difference to facts on the ground."

As Brian pointed out, the goal may not be what we assume it is... :)

"...there could be a time in the future when these things have no worth, the human race can survive without such things but not without water."

It's possible, but on a planet that's two-thirds water, unlikely.

"How about my right not to be told what to think."

We should press for that. Why not?

Fascist Hippy said...

@JuliaM

The two thirds water on the planet that you mention is likely to be desalinised, to make it fit for human consumption, by the companies who supply and have control of fresh water at the time. The simple act of turning off pumps/desalination plants/valves/taps etc. will prevent anyone having water without the controlling organisations say so, regardless of whether it originally fell out of the sky, came from reservoirs or the oceans.