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Human Right to Water to be First EU Citizens Initiative?

An online petition is launched to make the Human Right to water a European Citizen's Initiative call

05.09.2012 | Alia Papageorgiou

Are all Europeans guaranteed the right to drinking water?  According to the organisers of this European Citizens Initiative action more needs to be done and universal 100 percent coverage within Europe is still lacking.

"Europe does not have universal standards on water, absolutely not" says Chantal van den Bossche a spokesperson for Women in Europe for a Common Future speaking to New Europe, a partner organisation which supports this European Citizens Initiative for water sanitation as a human right.

"In the European region, reaching out to the countries in the former Soviet Union and as defined by the World Health Organisation for example, 20 million people still do not have access to safe sanitation or in the same region yearly approximately 39.000 deaths are attributed to diarrhea," Van den Bossche says.

Within the European Union itself "In Romania and Bulgaria  the situation is still unsafe and groundwater polluting pit latrines are widely used, or in Romania only approximately 30 percent of the rural people have access to improved water sources," are examples WECF used.

Registered on the European Commission's ledger of those wanting to use the European Citien's Initiative to bring forth an issue to be addresses by European legislation the organisers are made up of the following individuals Bsirske Frank, Goudrian Jan Willem, Nordstrom Annelie, Perret Anne-Marie, Kokalov Ivan, Pavanelli Rosa Maria Prentis Dave.

As of 3 September following some hurdles the online petition is now effective and can be used following a slight delay due to formal procedures of the European Commission. Social media networks are being use to promote signing and the request on behalf of these citizens and also several organisations including Aqua Publica Europea, The European Anti Poverty Network, the European Environmental Bureau, the European Public Health Alliance, the European Federation of Public Service Unions, the European Trade Union Confederation, Public services International, and Women in Europe for a Common Future.

The citizens' initiative right is set out in Article 11(4) of the Treaty on European Union and as yet the first succesfully submitted procedure remains elusive.

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