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Advocates Raise U.S. Water Quality, Access and Pollution as a Civil Rights Issue with the UN

Advocates have raised the issues of U.S. water quality, access and pollution as a civil rights issue with the UN, and outlined five areas where the U.S. has failed to meet standards under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on water. The first area is “Water Privatization and Shutoffs: According to a recent Food & Water Watch survey, an estimated 15 million U.S. residents lost water service due to nonpayment in 2016. Meanwhile, privately-owned utility service costs the typical U.S. household 59% more than public water service. Private water utilities have frequently refused to provide basic metrics including information about water shutoffs for nonpayment.”

Source: Common Dreams

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Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation

A common narrative in the human rights community is that human rights are neutral towards the type of water and sanitation provision and provider. The present report challenges this narrative. In the report, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, Léo Heller, starts from the premise that specific risks to the enjoyment of the human rights to water and sanitation in situations of privatization exist, and that the exploration of the legal, theoretical and empirical dimensions of these risks is necessary and relevant.

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Right to education

The Special Rapporteur examines public-private partnerships in education, which are inextricably linked to rapidly expanding privatization. He highlights their implications for the right to education and for the principles of social justice and equity. Lastly, he offers a set of recommendations with a view to developing an effective regulatory framework, along with implementation strategies for public-private partnerships in education, in keeping with State obligations for the right to education, as laid down in international human rights conventions, and the need to safeguard education as a public good.

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