MANILA, Philippines – The United Nations, not the corporate-sponsored water forum, should take the lead in hosting a legitimate and truly democratic global water forum founded on the people’s right to water as enunciated in General Comment no. 15 of the UN Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Freedom from Debt Coalition said Friday.

In a protest action commemorating the March 22 World Water Day here, FDC urged the United Nations to withdraw its support for the “corporate jamboree known as the World Water Forum,” an event controlled by the World Water Council which is a private think-tank that has ties with transnational water corporations such as Suez and Veolia.

Dianne Roa, FDC water advocacy coordinator, said that these “corporations have a track record of pushing for their self-interests and have no right to guide the world water policies.”

“We urge the UN to stand by the people and withdraw all support for an illegitimate water forum that continues to refuse and distort the people’s right to water,” Roa stressed. “Let this 5th jamboree of global water corporations be the last.”

In a statement, FDC together with members of Progresibong Alyansa ng mga Tagapagtangkilik ng Tubig sa Kamaynilaan (Progressive Alliance of Metro Manila Water Consumers or PATTAK) hit the dominance of a profit-driven framework and the state’s abject refusal to fulfill its role and duty in providing for and protecting the people’s right to water.

“The same policies and framework that brought on excessive water rate increases in Metro Manila are still being pushed on by the global water corporations to governments and policy-makers attending the World Water Forum,” the groups said, adding that the continued promotion of such policies threatens the right to water of people in Metro Manila and other localities in the Philippines.

“We refuse to be silent while decisions and policies regarding our water and our rights are crafted without us. We denounce the corporate-dominated World Water Forum as an illegitimate and undemocratic forum that serves only to promote the interests of the global corporations dominating it,” they added.

FDC also expressed solidarity with water activists who were violently dispersed and forcefully deported during a peaceful protest in Istanbul, Turkey, the Forum’s venue, last Monday.

“These appalling acts are a testament to the undemocratic means by which vested corporate interests are unduly shielded from peaceful protest. We condemn these inhumane acts of dispersals and deportations being conducted against our fellow water activists in Istanbul, Turkey. There is no reason for any government to use force against the people’s exercise of freedom of speech and assembly,” said Roa. -30-

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