Slovenia has officially declared that having access to drinkable water is a human right. This announcement was made following a vote by the Slovenian parliament who voted in favour of the law that prevents the country’s water sources from being commercialised. According to recent reports, Prime Minister Miro Cerar described water as “the 21st century’s liquid gold”. Slovenia’s constitution states, “Everyone has the right to drinkable water. Water resources represent a public good managed by the state. Water resources are primary and durably used to supply citizens with potable water and households with water and, in this sense, are not a market commodity.”
However, despite the initial positivity, the Slovenian Democratic party have claimed that they do not believe that the law is necessary, instead thinking that it was merely put forward to sway public opinion. Due to this, the party did not vote, meaning that out of Slovenia’s 90 parliamentary seats, 64 votes were in favour of the law, and zero were against it.
Cerar believes that due to the high quality of the Slovenian water, foreign corporations would be interested in the supply. He said, “As it will gradually become a more valuable commodity in the future, pressure over it will increase and we must not give in.”
The statement for water as a human right now being in Slovenia’s constitution is a first for any European Union country. Out of the two million people currently living in Slovenia, 10,000 to 12,000 of those do not currently have any access to water that is safe for them to drink, according to Amnesty International.
The Deputy Europe Director, Fotis Filippou, said in a statement, “Enshrining access to drinking water as a constitutional human right is an important legal step forward for Slovenia, but Roma communities need more than legal changes. Action is now needed to ensure the changes flow down to all those without water and sanitation.”
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