By Marie Kennedy
March 27th, 2009
Gaza: War on civilians in the world's largest open-air prison
By Nikhil Aziz
March 26th, 2009
Not for the world's people for sure. And especially not for the increasingly thirsty billions who lack acess to clean and safe water for drinking, cooking, and growing food; or for those that have been displaced by huge mega dam projects or suffered from water diversions for agribusinesses and bottled water corporations. This was amply evident when the World Water Forum (WWF) denied permission to the United Nations General Assembly President, Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann (from Nicaragua) to speak at its 5th gathering in Istanbul, Turkey this past week.
Grassroots International Board Member Marie Kennedy and staff member Salena Tramel visited partners and allies in the West Bank and Israel prior to joining a delegation to Gaza, co-sponsored by Code Pink. This entry is from Marie's notes from her meetings in the West Bank.
Feb 27th – Stop the Wall Campaign Members Tell Their Stories
Local is Global – Defenders of water rights and justice in your municipalities, your cities, your parliaments
By Nikhil Aziz.
Nikhil is reporting from the World Water Forum in Istanbul, Turkey.
One of the events organized by civil society during the corporate-driven World Water Forum in Istanbul was "International Day" on March 19th. Various members of the anti-privatization sector of the global water justice movement organized this in collaboration with Turkish civil society representatives. For example, Our Water Commons, the Trans National Institute, Food & Water Watch, and regional networks like Red Vida (Latin America) and the African Water Network.
The opening day of the World Water Forum (WWF) in Istanbul was emblematic of the undemocratic and unaccountable nature of the WWF. The WWF, like the World Economic Forum, is a virtual country club. Dominated by multinational corporations like Veolia and Suez, international financial institutions like the World Bank, and governments, it is run by an unelected body, the World Water Council (WWC), which charges exorbitant entry fees and goes further to silence opposition by nefarious means.
With thanks in part to $80,000 dollars in generous donations made to Grassroots International in response to the Gaza Crisis, our partners in Palestine have begun the process of rebuilding their communities.
Sixty years after the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we at Grassroots International recognize that more often than not the reality has failed the vision put forth in that document. Our commitment to defending land, water, and food as the most basic of human rights is reflected throughout the 30-article treaty. Globally, people in all corners of the world currently experience a quadruple crisis that includes food, finance, energy, and the environment. From Latin America to the Middle East, our partners and allies are facing serious threats to their lives and livelihoods. Policies and actions of governments and corporations represent the grave violations of the core principles of the treat
Haiti's fight for basic human rights often finds its way into the Kreyol language's vivid and plentiful proverbs. Sak vid pa kanpe means that a hungry person cannot do anything – literally, an empty sack cannot stand up. Of the many root causes of the current food crisis that is rendering the poor majority of Haitians unable to feed them themselves, the lack of water rights is of utmost significance.
A focus group of Haitian woman in Port-de-Paix concluded that the water problem is what often causes massive hunger. They reported that the water problem is causing "people to die in its hands."
The construction of the Wall by the Israeli government in the West Bank is viewed by many as the third and final wave of expulsion of the Palestinian people, following the forced Palestinian exodus in 1948 in the wake of Israel's independence, and then the 1967 Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Perhaps, more than any other element of the occupation, the Wall illustrates the severity of the Palestinian situation and the urgency for access to resources, including water.