In section: Prayers and Reflections
Gaza © ROE-COE/Asa Elsfström

Week 6 - Palestinians deprived of clean water, an essential human right

Reflection for the first of the Seven Weeks for Water 2016 - Week 6

By Simona Abderhalden*

 “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed….” (Isaiah 1:17)

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come…” (Isaiah 55:1)

Access to water and sanitation is a human right. This human right is in itself essential for life and dignity, but it is also the foundation for achieving a wealth of other human rights, including the right to health and the right to development.”

(Navanethem Pillay[1] United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008 to 2014)

Biblical affirmation of justice and peace

Justice is a key element in many religious scriptures, particularly in the Bible. The God of justice spoke through God’s prophets, always standing by the suffering and oppressed, and delivering justice to those who were deprived. Therefore, justice and peace are basic tenets of the Christian faith.

If people of faith do not respond to issues of justice and peace, we are not truly God’s followers. While spiritual nurturing is important for one’s personal peace, we all are called to be the spokespeople for those who are weak and cannot speak for themselves or defend their rights. We are called to be proponents of justice and peace, or else, as Prophet Amos reminds us, God will not accept our prayers and rituals. (Amos 5:21-24).

While there are many factors which affect the fullness of life enjoyed by people, water, food and shelter are some of the basic necessities for survival.

Water is an essential element in our lives. There would be no life without water. Every person on earth should have access to it, irrespective of their background and economic status.

On 28 July 2010, the General Assembly of the United Nations explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation, and also acknowledged that clean water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights[2].

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