Slovenia adds water to constitution as fundamental right for all

by Agence France-Presse in Ljubljana

Slovenia has amended its constitution to make access to drinkable water a fundamental right for all citizens and stop it being commercialised.

With 64 votes in favour and none against, the 90-seat parliament added an article to the EU country’s constitution saying “everyone has the right to drinkable water”.

The centre-right opposition Slovenian Democratic party (SDS) abstained from the vote saying the amendment was not necessary and only aimed at increasing public support.

Slovenia is a mountainous, water-rich country with more than half its territory covered by forest.

“Water resources represent a public good that is managed by the state. Water resources are primary and durably used to supply citizens with potable water and households with water and, in this sense, are not a market commodity,” the article reads.

The centre-left prime minister, Miro Cerar, had urged lawmakers to pass the bill saying the country of two million people should “protect water – the 21st century’s liquid gold – at the highest legal level”.

“Slovenian water has very good quality and, because of its value, in the future it will certainly be the target of foreign countries and international corporations’ appetites.

“As it will gradually become a more valuable commodity in the future, pressure over it will increase and we must not give in,” Cerar said.

Slovenia is the first European Union country to include the right to water in its constitution, although according to Rampedre (the online Permanent World Report on the Right to Water) 15 other countries across the world had already done so.

Earlier this year Slovenia also declared the world’s first green destination country by the Netherlands-based organisation Green Destinations, while its capital, Ljubljana, was made the 2016 European Green Capital.

Amnesty International said Slovenia must ensure the new law would be also applied to the 10,000-12,000 Roma people living in the country.

“Many Roma are … denied even minimum levels of access to water and sanitation,” Amnesty said in a statement.

The European Union agreed in 2014 to exclude water supply and water resources management from the rules governing the European internal market, following the first successful European Citizens’ Initiative that managed to raise more than one million signatures.



Nestlé found liable over spying on NGO

January 30, 2013 | Financial Times

By James Shotter in Zürich and Louise Lucas in London

Link to original article.

Nestlé found liable over spying on NGO

By James Shotter in Zürich and Louise Lucas in London

Nestlé, whose clashes with activists over sales of baby milk formula in Africa led to

widespread boycotts in the 1980s, has been found liable in a civil case over the secret infiltration of a non-governmental organisation.

A Swiss court last week ordered Nestlé and the Swiss security company Securitas AG to pay compensation following revelations that an infiltrator had attended “workgroup” meetings of Attac, an anti-globalisation group. Some of those meetings took place at members’ homes.

The world’s biggest food company has been at pains

to repair relations with NGOs since the milk formula debacle, which led to new health regulations on its marketing.

The rise of social media and rapid dissemination of any wrongdoings – and a new generation of more socially conscious consumers – has further encouraged the maker of KitKats and its peers to address issues ranging from child labour on cocoa farms to saving water. Such initiatives are often carried out in partnership with NGOs.

But even though Nestlé has been fostering closer ties with its one-time foes, it has now been found to have been involved in the monitoring of activist activities.

The long-running legal saga began in 2008 when Attac filed criminal and civil allegations against Nestlé and Securitas after Swiss TV alleged that an Attac workgroup in the canton of Vaud had been infiltrated by a Securitas employee on behalf of Nestlé in 2003.The criminal case was dropped in 2009, but the civil case continued, and Jean-Luc Genillard, president of the civil court in Lausanne, has now ordered Nestlé and Securitas to pay compensation of SFr3,000 per claimant.

A spokesman for Nestlé said the company would like “to reiterate that incitement to infiltration is against Nestlé’s corporate business principles”, adding that it noted the judge’s decision “with disappointment”.

However, he said it was too early to say what, if any actions, Nestlé would take next. “We are unable to make any specific comments before the judge’s reasoning is released. If it turns out that a Nestlé employee has acted negligently, we will take appropriate action,” he said.

Securitas said it had stopped this sort of activity eight years ago and that the judge’s ruling had no impact on its current operations. The group said it was now waiting for the judge’s written reasoning.

Attac said it was “very satisfied” that the civil court had condemned Nestlé’s and Securitas’s actions. “Nevertheless, we’d like to point out that we are continuing to critically observe the worldwide activities of multinational corporations.”

Action Alert on Water & Climate Change

Hello readers,

Climate meetings are taking place in Bonn Germany this week and next week.  They are preparing for the next major round of negotiations in Cancun this fall.   So far water is not even being discussed in climate negotiations.  Negotiators need to hear from us that water is key to protecting our earth from climate change. Please sign the petition to the negotiators to make this a top priority issue!