October 13, 2021

Solidarity statements: Africa week of action against water privatization

See below for statements from leaders around the world on their support of the Our Water, Our Right Africa Coalition, published during the Africa Week of Action Against Water Privatisation.

Congresswoman Gwen Moore, United States Congress

“This week, community and labor leaders across the African continent are sounding the alarm of the widespread threat of water privatization in their communities. This issue has been near and dear to my heart since I called on the World Bank, one of the largest drivers of privatization in the Global South, to end its promotion of water privatization in 2016. As the World Bank commences its annual meetings this week and governments around the world consider how to rebuild in the years to come, the work of the Our Water, Our Right Africa Coalition could not be more critical.

These organizers have seen firsthand the devastating impact that privatization has had on communities and workers around the world and I stand with them in defense of the human right to water for all.”

Anne Le Strat, Former Deputy Mayor of Paris and President of Eau de Paris, which led the city’s water system remunicipalisation

“Private management of the Paris water system by the multinationals Veolia and Suez failed to provide Parisians with the quality of service they deserve. Remunicipalisation has resulted in better service with lower rates and greater public participation in governance. I stand with the African coalition ‘Our Water, Our Right’ which opposes the privatisation of water in its own communities.”

Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights (2014-2020)

“Privatisation has become a mantra in Africa and beyond. But the actual facts, if one bothers to study them, show clearly that in most cases it is more expensive, leads to service for many fewer people, puts the service beyond the reach of democratic actors and the courts, and determinedly disadvantages low-income groups. But privatisation is heavily promoted because it is hugely profitable for the private sector and enables governments to shed the few responsibilities they previously had.”

Léo Heller, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation (2014-2020)

“The privatisation of water and sanitation services has led to severe risks of human rights violations in cases worldwide, driven by a focus on profit maximisation and power asymmetry. States must do all they can to meet their obligation to respect, protect, and fulfil the human rights to water and sanitation, especially for historically marginalised populations. I stand in solidarity with the Our Water, Our Right Africa Coalition as they resist privatisation and advocate for a more just way forward.”

Prof. Sofiri Joab-Peterside, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria

“If water is life, then, the commodification of water amounts to commodification of life. We must rise
and say an emphatic ‘No’ to commodification of water in Africa. Access to water is a right and as such, African governments must respect, protect and fulfill the right to water for all Africans and making necessary investment to develop the water sector.”


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