ON WORLD WATER DAY 2016, US HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS SAY “WATER IS A HUMAN RIGHT!”

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Black over blue background reads: "The S Word: PUTTING THE HUMAN RIGHTS TO SANITATION AND WATER AT THE FOREFRONT OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT FOR WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT" with "March 22, 2016" in blue text

ON WORLD WATER DAY 2016, US HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS SAY “WATER IS A HUMAN RIGHT!”

EVENTS HELD AT UN COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN, WHITE HOUSE, STATE CAPITOL OF MI

MEDIA CONTACT: Jess St. Louis jstlouis@ushrnetwork.org 404-588-9761 x104

NEW YORK CITY, NYOn March 22nd - also known as World Water Day - human rights defenders from around the United States and the world will come together to demand that the human rights to water and sanitation be fulfilled for all.

In New York City, at the 60th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, representatives from Flint; Detroit; Shell Bluff, GA; and New York City will be joined by fellow human rights defenders from around the world including Cochabamba, Bolivia - where the successful fight against water privatization was highly publicized - to raise the alarm on violations of the human rights to water and sanitation. The event, titled - “The S Word: Putting the Human Rights to Sanitation and Water at the Forefront of Sustainable Development for Women’s Empowerment” - will highlight the impact of mass water shut-offs, contaminated water, and lack of sanitation services on our communities and in particular women in communities of color.

The event is billed as a People's Water Summit and will serve as an alternative forum to the White House Water Summit also planned on World Water Day but not open to the public. This event will ensure the voices of those directly impacted and working on the ground as advocates on the human rights to water and sanitation are heard. The New York event will be held from 10:30am-12:00pm, in the UN Church Center at the Chapel on the 1st Floor (777 United Nations Plaza) and will be livestreamed. Partners for the event include: Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise (ACRE); Food & Water Watch; Georgia Women's Action for New Directions (WAND); Human Rights Watch; International Human Rights Clinic; Santa Clara University School of Law; Unitarian Universalist Service Committee; and WaterAid.

“Water and sanitation are human rights that our governments should respect, protect and fulfill. We are joining groups around the world and country to demand accountability from our governments who are perpetrating human rights violations related to water and sanitation, and failing to protect our communities against private interests,” said Ejim Dike, Executive Director of the US Human Rights Network.

Organizers and advocates with the People’s Water Board are also holding a rally and lobby day at the Michigan state legislature to encourage state lawmakers to pass the collection of bills known as the Michigan Human Rights to Water Bill Package. The rally begins at 10:00am on the steps of the State Capitol, and lobbying takes place afterwards.

 “Water shutoffs have severe economic consequences for women, particularly those who are head of household. Women are more likely to be caretakers of children so lack of water access has a greater impact. Single-female headed households that are no longer eligible for government assistance for needy children are disproportionately impacted by residential water shutoffs and unaffordable water bills.” Sylvia Orduño, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, National Human Rights to Water and Sanitation Coalition member.

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ABOUT THE US HUMAN RIGHTS NETWORK

The US Human Rights Network (USHRN) is a national network of organizations and individuals working to strengthen a human rights movement and culture within the United States led by the people most directly impacted by human rights violations. It is a network of over 300 organizational members that is working to popularize human rights in communities across the United States in order to secure dignity and justice for all. www.ushrnetwork.org