Iceland Abstains from Clean Water Vote in UN - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland Abstains from Clean Water Vote in UN

Published July 29, 2010

Iceland abstained from voting on a United Nations proposal declaring access to clean water a human right. One member of parliament has demanded an explanation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Even more bizarrely, the Icelandic Human Rights Office has as part of its platform the belief that everyone is entitled to access to clean water.
Vísir reports that 122 countries voted in favor of the proposal, and none voted against it. However, a number of nations abstained, including Iceland, along with Australia, Denmark, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Sweden, the United States, and others.
The language of the proposal encourages nations to send financial and other assistance to developing nations in order to help them establish clean water, for drinking and cleaning, for all. It is also pointed out that 900 million people do not have stable access to clean drinking water, and 2.6 billion live below the bare minimum of sanitary living conditions. One and a half million children under the age of five die every year from a lack of clean drinking water and from unsanitary conditions.
Movement MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir sent an e-mail to Foreign Affairs committee chairman Árni Þór Sigurðsson demanding an explanation for the vote. Specifically, she asked if it was the platform of the Icelandic government that access to clean water is not a basic human right, and why such matters are not voted on in parliament before being taken before the United Nations.

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