“The Right to Safe Water in Southeast Asia” Publication

RWI aspires to raise public awareness on safe drinking water as fundamental to ensuring a life of dignity for all.

JAKARTA, Indonesia, April, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — More than 100 million people live without access to safe water in Southeast Asia as a result of pollution, overuse, climate change-induced droughts, degradation of aquatic ecosystem, dams and contamination.

A recent report, The Right to Safe Water in Southeast Asiapublished by The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI), China Dialogue and a researcher from the Ibnu Khaldun University, Bogor, Indonesia shows that countries respecting, fulfilling, and protecting the right to safe water are in a better position to tackle water supply issues, and ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights.

"The Right to Safe Water in Southeast Asia" Publication
“The Right to Safe Water in Southeast Asia” Publication

“The Right to Safe Water report highlights that ASEAN countries, to their credit, have taken crucial steps in recognizing the right to safe drinking water as indivisible form and the foundation for achieving many other international human rights”, said RWI Program Officer specialized in human rights and the environment, Victor Bernard.

Recognising the right to safe drinking water as a standalone right or as a part of the right to a healthy environment.

ASEAN recognizes the rights to safe drinking water and sanitation and to a safe, clean and sustainable environment as pre-requisites to realising the right to an adequate standard of living in its 2012 Human Rights Declaration.

Yet, ASEAN does not have a dedicated treaty or legal instrument to support this right.

The authors of The Right to Safe Water propose that ASEAN countries could:

  • Protect the constitutional and legislative recognition of the right to water on par with other human rights.
  • Develop and implement strong health standards in law for water contaminants, industrial chemicals and pesticide pollutants that threaten the right to safe water.
  • Enable full public participation and access to information regarding water pollution, sanitation, and water services.
  • Provide greater support for sanitation services and their universal coverage.
  • Promote best practices in sanitation for rural and under-served communities, such as the community-led total sanitation system.
  • Choose public or municipal water provision, where it can help provide lower cost and more integrated water policymaking.

Whether they will or not remains to be seen.

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