The immediate former UN secretary general, Koffi Annan once said that access to safe water is a fundamental human need and therefore is a basic human right. He also said that contaminated water jeopardize both the physical and social health of all people. It is true from his words that water is the essence of life. Water plays a vital role in nearly every function of the body ranging from protecting the immune system to helping remove waste matter. The water needed by human body should be accessible and safe otherwise it will be a source of serious illnesses such as diarrhea, typhoid and others.
Over 2 million people die of water borne diseases every year mostly being children in developing countries (Fiji Human Rights Commission: Internet). Life has to be protected and as such people have right to enjoy safe and adequate life. Contaminated water whether used for drinking or cooking food is likely to be hazardous to people’s health. Apart from drinking to sustain the body functions water is essential for hygiene and sanitation, growing agricultural produce in the form of food, keeping animals, recreation and relaxation and other social and cultural activities.
All these activities are supported by water and in turn support human life hence proving that water us a human right (Kaufmann, D, 31). Yes, this statement attests to the fact that water is indeed a vital part of living. It is a human right for every citizen to access regular supply of safe water just as it is the case of access to safe food. Of the world’s total population, a larger percentage does not have access to clean drinking water such as springs and wells.
Lack of safe water brings about poor health and eventually impacts negatively on the development and poverty alleviation efforts. Lack of good water supply and poor sanitation has also been blamed for poor performance in education. This is so because lack of such may lead to high drop-out rates from schools. This will in turn be contravening another human right to education. Supply of fresh water is important for farming and manufacturing of products which can help in improving families in comes. This also helps to support human life (Fagan: Internet).
Certainly, water is one of the main factors of life that makes every activity of the human civilization much possible and much worthwhile at that. Obviously, the human’s right to live is coexistent with their right to access the most basic sources of living itself. It could be observed that life is indeed in need of being supported by the gifts that the creator of all things have presented the human civilization through the natural resources that he has provided along with the life that has been given to people (United Nations: Declaration on the Right to Development: Internet).
As a result, with or without the law of human-politics and governmental arrangements regarding the matter, it should be innate among all that water is indeed something that the grand Creator has provided to all and that it should be available for access of all those who are in need of it. Several examples of human rights that are protected by internationally guaranteed standards include civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.
The governments of different countries around the world are under an obligation to respect, protect, and fulfill the implementation of the said set of human rights (WHO 2002: United Nations: Declaration on the Right to Development: Internet ). Hence, it could then be considered that the governments of different nations are accountable for stopping the indirect and direct interference that subjects the enjoyment of humans with their right to having been able to access the sources of fresh water.
Furthermore, governments should protect each individual’s right to water whether they are young or old; or even the economic disparity separates them as being rich or poor. The government organizations should certainly put into good use the necessary measures that would enable them to see to it that the right to water is fully achieved. The idea of water being a human right is not a recent concept , since back on 1948, there was a universal declaration of human right of 1948 by United Nations which stated that human being were entitled to enjoy standard attainable physical and mental health.
This could be achieved directly or indirectly through access to safe drinking water. Most likely, anything that is related to health involves water as it is. It could not be denied that the water intake of a person as mentioned earlier is the source of good health for all humans. As it has always been noted, if machines need fuel to function, people sorely needs water to be able to perform well either physically or mentally.
It has been reported through the magazine Health and Home that a person may be able to live at least three days without food but never will a person last a day without taking in any water soluble substance that could help him reinvigorate his strength to continue living. Hence, during the year 2002, the United Nations committee on Economic, Social and Cultural rights recognized water as an independent right. This was due to recognition of its contribution to the standards of living because it is one of the most important components of human survival (http://www.
unhchr. ch/html/menu3/b/74. htm). Constant recognition of the fact that everyone has a right to the ability of accessing major water sources places a certain thought that there is a need for officials to see to it that this right is being protected at all times to prolong human existence on earth. Water as a human right is further justified by the fact that fresh water is a legal entitlement and not just a commodity or service that can be given to individuals as a means of charity.
This is particularly the reason why such access to this important resource should be accelerated in order to achieve or fulfill the legal requirement. To facilitate equitable access to this important commodity, all people should be targeted when it comes to distribution of water. Since this is a human right, the concerned people which include communities and vulnerable groups should be given the courage to participate in decision making processes about the supply and distribution of water.
People should be allowed to participate in the decision making procedures for solving the issues relating to who is to mange water supply as to whom shall the privilege and authority be given to: the private firms or the public governments? As an answer, everyone is expected to agree that the government should be at the forefront to make sure that people’s rights to water are respected, protected and fulfilled.
This should be through paying attention to each individual’s right to water by giving access to information and allowing people to understand and evaluate as well as act on the information available to them with regards the said issue being discussed. The right to water gives human beings or individuals the right to access water services whether poor or rich. This also ensures no discrimination to accessibility to water based on gender or economic standing as well as demographic segregation of the human society. Men and women have equal rights to accessibility of water resources.
Further the right to water calls for no discrimination based on color, race, age, language, political standing, nationality or social origin, birth, physical or mental disability (Fiji Human Rights Commission: Internet). As a human right, water supply distributed to everyone needs to be protected by laws, policies, administrative procedures and practices in order to be in a position of being implemented. To do this, internationally recognized rights should be used to determine the local ways of fulfilling human rights to water resource accessibilities.