From service providers to rights-based advocates: the shifting strategies of civil society in Odisha, India
Drought, disease, dissolution, death - these are the stark realities of life without safe water. Quality of life, health, and hygiene largely depend on safe drinking water and proper sanitation. Yet in many areas of rural India these fundamental human rights have not been realised - especially among poor and marginalised people. Odisha, as one of the least progressive states in the country, needs more attention than most.
Member in the Spotlight: Manushya Foundation | The community-led class action lawsuit fighting gold-mining in Phichit, Thailand
In central Thailand's Phichit and Phetchabun provinces, over 6,000 villagers are severely affected by the goldmining operations of Akara Resources Public Company Limited, the Thai subsidiary of the Australian company Kingsgate Consolidated Limited. In 2001, the company started its commercial mining operations at the Chatree Goldmining Complex - just 300 meters from where the communities live. The communities are Thai citizens who have lived in the area for generations. They primarily make a living through farming and are dependent on the area’s natural resources, such as water and land. However, since Akara started its operations, villagers experienced adverse impacts to their livelihoods and environment. Their fundamental human rights have been violated.
Through End Water Poverty's #ClaimYourWaterRights campaign, Media for Community Empowerment has been broadcasting a series of Sauti Yangu ("My Voice") election specials to remind politicians that it is the government's responsibility to guarantee people's human rights to safe water and sanitation ahead of Tanzania's presidential election on 28 October.
On 28 July National Association of Youth Organizations (NAYO) joined activists and civil society around the world to commemorate ten years since the United Nations recognised water and sanitation as human rights. Through #ClaimYourWaterRights, a campaign aimed at mobilising people to demand their human rights to safe water and sanitation, this was a day to amplify calls for governments to urgently finance, deliver and regulate services. The global pandemic has worsened the plight of many people who have no access to water and are at a higher risk of contracting the virus.
It’s been more than 24 years since the South African Constitution was promulgated. The Constitution stated clearly that “everyone has the right to have access to sufficient water” (section 27(1)(b)), and placed the obligation squarely on the state to “take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation” (section 27(2)) of the right of access to sufficient water.