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< prev - next > Water for Life - Community water security (Printable PDF)
Water for Life 45
International law and the right to water
Access to enough, safe water is recognized as a human right in many international laws
and agreements. One of these agreements, called General Comment 15, states:
The human right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, safe,
acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for
personal and domestic uses. An adequate amount of safe water is
necessary to prevent death from dehydration, to reduce the risk
of water‑related disease and to provide for consumption, cooking,
personal and domestic hygienic requirements.
Other international agreements that protect the human right to water include:
The United Nations Charter
The Universal Declaration of
Human Rights
The Geneva Convention
The Declaration on the Right to
The Convention on the Rights of
the Child
The Stockholm Declaration
The Mar del Plata Action Plan
The Dublin Statement
Agenda 21
The Millennium Declaration of
The European Council of
Environmental Law
Resolution on the Right to Water
The African Charter on Human
and Peoples’ Rights
The Protocol of San Salvador
Most countries have agreed to the conditions of some or all of these conventions.
Governments have a responsibility to protect water sources for the common use of
all people. Like other rights, the right to water only exists if people use it and defend
it. As water grows scarce and becomes a source of ongoing conflict around the world,
communities, governments, and international agencies need to work hard to defend
the right to water for today and for the future.