MERDEKA WATER RIGHT DECLARATION
We, religious leaders and groups, NGOs, trade unions, resident’s associations comprising of Buddhists, Catholics, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Taoists, participating at the inter-faith forum entitled, “United for Water: Religions Speak on the Right to Water”, in Kuala Lumpur today, hereby resolve the following:
1. Water is God’s gift to people, is essential for life and belongs to everyone
Our religions and faiths believe water is sacred and the Creator’s gift to people. Water is life and must be respected. It is used in worship by all our religions and faiths. Therefore, it must be conserved and utilized as a basic need for all human beings and living things on the earth. It symbolizes life in its pristine form. The right to water is intrinsically linked to the right to life.
2. Access to water is a right
The human right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water. The use of pre-paid cards and water disconnections would be in violation of the right. The State needs to fulfill this right and is responsible to protect and promote the right. Access to water therefore cannot be premised on profitability. People should enjoy this right without discrimination.
The State should ensure that the right to water is represented and realized in the policies of the private water sector.
Fulfillment of the right to water should be consistent with the demands of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC, 1989), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, 1979), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, 1948) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR, 1966).
3. Water conservation, preservation and protection is a responsibility of the people and the State
Water is a scarce resource. Citizens, the government, stakeholders and businesses should work together to ensure that water sources such as rivers, lakes, water catchments and groundwater are conserved, preserved and protected for the present and future generations.