Right to Water National Conference and Protest Against Coca-Cola
Mehdiganj, UP, India
Access to water is a fundamental human right. Water is sacred, and without water, life is not sustainable.
Over one billion people around the world still lack access to clean drinking water.
Communities across the world, particularly the poor and the vulnerable, are finding it increasingly difficult to access water to meet their basic needs.
Even though the UN Millennium Development Goals in 2000 has set the year 2015 as halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water, we seem far from achieving such an important goal.
With the real threat of climate change already impacting communities around the world, realizing the fundamental human right to water is getting increasingly difficult. We already see more and more communities across India and the world struggling to meet their basic water needs.
We are witnessing a trend that is rapidly taking away water rights from communities and placing it in the hands of those that place a commercial value on water – the water profiteers. Water, a fundamental human right, is now being traded in markets across the world, and those who can afford it have it, and those that cannot, lose out.
We reject the commercialization of water. Human rights cannot be traded and markets cannot and must not decide who has access to water.
Yet, the Indian government is allowing multinational companies, both Indian and foreign, to enter the water business. Predictably, the result is that more and more communities are left without water, while private companies make profit from selling and trading water.
A significant example of such egregious behavior comes from the Coca-Cola company, which has continued to extract millions of liters of water everyday in India while communities who reside around its bottling plants are left thirsting for water.
Companies in India and around the world have also denied people access to water by negatively impacting the quality of water. The Coca-Cola company has regularly polluted the scarce remaining water resources around its bottling plants in India, further denying people their fundamental human right.
Communities in India and globally are fighting back against the wave of privatization and asserting the primary rights of communities over water.
In a resounding victory for grassroots campaigns around the world, the people of Plachimada in Kerala have shut down Coca-Cola’s bottling plant since March 2004. The communities of Kala Dera in Rajasthan and Mehdiganj in Uttar Pradesh are getting close to shutting down the bottling plants in their communities. And the survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster of 1984 are currently marching over 800 kms to Delhi to demand justice and safe drinking water.
We demand community centered solutions to the water crises and insist that communities must have primary rights over water.
The community of Mehdiganj and Coca-Cola affected communities in India are working with communities, elected officials, local, state and national government officials, people’s movements, non-governmental organizations and international groups to challenge the eroding right to water and asserting the fundamental human right to water.
Join us for an conference on the right to water in Mehdiganj on March 28 and 29 followed by a march and demonstration against the Coca-Cola bottling plant on March 30.
For more information, visit www.IndiaResource.org and contact:
Nandlal Master, Lok Samiti, Mehdiganj, India +91 94153 00520 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
March 28-30, 2008
Sandeep Pandey, National Alliance of Peoples Movements, India +91 522 2347365 E: email@example.com
Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center, US +1 415 336 7584 E: info@IndiaResource.org
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