There are still over one billion people who have no access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. The increasing scarcity of water around the world makes the problem all the more urgent. However, the growing international recognition of the right to water and sanitation is the first step in the right direction. This right gives poor and vulnerable groups the ability to stand up to political neglect. It empowers them to approach national and international courts of justice to demand clean drinking water.
Despite vehement protests from the local community and the ban from the federal government of the state Pará, on 26 Januari 2011 the Brazilian government gave its assent to the construction of the Belo Monte Dam in the River Xingu.
This week, a special rapporteur of the United Nations spoke out against the opening of an open-pit coalmine in Phulbari in the northwestern part of Bangladesh. He did this because of the enormous human rights violations this project might lead to. A year ago, the International Accountability Project (IAP) presented a proposal for research on this subject to a number of UN Special Rapporteurs. Olivier de Schutter (UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food) has worked on the proposal since then. From the start, Both ENDS has been active within several networks that are trying to prevent the opening of this coalmine.