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Water as a Human Right

by Christine Dragonette on July 21, 2014

With Detroit in the news so much recently over water shutoffs to many residents who cannot pay their bill, I’ve been reflecting on human rights and our responsibility to protect these rights for everyone. Those with less economic or political leverage are often denied power, as well as basic rights. How can we advocate for these rights, regardless of status?

In the case of the Detroit water shutoffs, many people vocalized their dissent publicly, as shown here. In order to first recognize how we can respond to injustice, though, we must reflect on our current role.

Here’s a useful examination of conscience that I found on the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s website:

• Do I recognize and respect the economic, social, political, and cultural rights of others?

• Do I live in material comfort and excess while remaining insensitive to the needs of others whose rights are unfulfilled?

• Do I take seriously my responsibility to ensure that the rights of persons in need are realized?

• Do I urge those in power to implement programs and policies that give priority to the human dignity and rights of all, especially the vulnerable?

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