Safe drinking water is a human right

Everyone has the right to clean drinking water. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to this effect on 28 July 2010, which also recognises safe access to sanitation as a human right.


However, the adoption of the resolution did not create a new human right. Rather, the General Assembly explicitly recognizes that a human right to access to safe water and adequate sanitation already exists as part of the right to an adequate standard of living (Article 11) and the right to health (Article 12).

The resolution calls upon Member States and international organizations to provide poorer countries with the funding and technology necessary to realize this human right.
The text of the resolution was supported by a clear majority. Of the 192 member states of the United Nations, 163 were present in the General Assembly. 122 states voted in favour (including Switzerland), 41 abstained. There were no votes against.

Currently, almost 900 million people suffer from insufficient access to water and over 2.6 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation. Every year, an estimated 1.5 million children under the age of 5 die from diseases caused by dirty water and unhygienic facilities.

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