Appeal for the human right to safe drinking water and basic sanitation

16.06.2010 - Press release

The Federal Foreign Office is sending a clear message in favour of improved access to water. In this regard, from tomorrow (17 June) until the end of the World Cup, two giant banners will be visible at the main entrance to the ministry showing national football team members Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany) and Didier Drogba (Côte d’Ivoire) campaigning for the human right to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

900 million people worldwide have no access to drinking water and 2.5 billion people have no toilet. The resulting diseases kill more children than malaria, measles and AIDS. To draw attention to this fact and to help solve this problem, the Federal Foreign Office is participating in the “WASH United” campaign.

In seven sub-Saharan African countries and Germany, during and after the World Cup, WASH United will call for international recognition of the human right to drinking water and basic sanitation and promote hygiene education.

The WASH United team includes Michael Ballack, Arjen Robben, Gianluigi Buffon, Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Pillay, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Bishop Tutu, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and many more.

For more information go to www.wash-united.org


Together with Spain, Germany launched an initiative in 2006 for the global recognition of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation which to date has triggered the adoption of various resolutions in the United Nations Human Rights Council and the appointment of an independent expert, Catarina de Albuquerque. It is her task to contribute to the clarification and further development of the legal obligations related to this issue and to identify best practices. Moreover, she is to submit proposals that can contribute to the fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals in the water and sanitary sector.

Germany is making a practical contribution to solving the problem. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, commitments by the German Government will provide access to drinking water and sanitation for around 30 million people by 2015. With its Development Policy Action Plan for Human Rights, the Federal Government has anchored the implementation of human rights firmly in development cooperation. The realization of the right to water and basic sanitation plays an important role here.

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