Woman, Life, Freedom

The European Water Movement alongside women and men struggling in Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Iran against war and repression, for a new model of democratic society

In these last months Kurdish women and men are resisting the aggression of Turkish regime in Syria and Iraq. Turkish army is targeting civilian infrastructure in the North of Syria such as power plants, grain stores, hospitals and the water distribution system, leading to fears of a serious humanitarian crisis later this winter.

Women and men are also resisting the repression by the Iranian regime against women, young people and minorities including Kurdish. Women especially are leading several protests in Iran, in spite of the greater risks and suffering they face. In the meantime hydric segregation persists in various Iranian regions, as the water apartheid in Palestine.

To the cry of “Woman, Life, Freedom” women and men are fighting for a new model of society alternative to the autocratic and patriarchal regimes in Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Iran.

The European Water Movement expresses its solidarity to all these people and communities and calls for public opinion to mobilize and institutions to take effective measures for the immediate stop of military aggressions and repressions, for release of persons detained and for the acknowledgement of the instances of liberty, justice and inclusiveness supported by the democratic confederalism and by all who demonstrate in Iran, Turkey and across the Middle East. Lastly it demands the protection for exiles and refugees abroad and the guarantee of exclusion from any risk of extradition. In this regard it denounces the shameful agreement that led to the extradition of the Kurdish militant Mahmut Tat from Sweden to Turkey.

Appeal in Defense of Water

Towards the next UN Water Conference in March 2023

In light of the United Nations General Assembly convening the Conference on the Comprehensive Mid-Term Review of the Implementation of the Goals of the International Decade for Action, ‘Water for Sustainable Development’ 2018-2028 (the 2023 UN Water Conference) in New York, from March 22-24, 2023, preceded by the UN Human Rights Council Social Forum, held in the Assembly Hall of the Palais des Nations in Geneva, from November 3-4, focused on Water for Human Rights and Sustainable Development: Good Practices, Lessons Learned and Challenges in Implementing the International Decade for Action, water justice movements call for active and creative participation to influence these processes and parallel and alternative actions to oppose and counteract the lobbying and capture of these agendas by corporate power.

Faced with the crisis of civilization imposed by capitalism, which is expressed in the climate crisis and that promotes accumulation, dispossession and limitless consumerism, water justice movements demand that the UN agenda resume discussion of water as a substance of life and a common good that should never be subject to commodification, commercialization and financialization. It is also urgent that the destruction and pollution of vital water sources by extractive industries and industrial agriculture be stopped. It is imperative that discussions of water as a common good, a right and the integrality of human rights be informed by the public interest and not by the interests of corporations and global water markets.

Water, its uses and management, are closely related to democratic mechanisms and human rights, and it is incomprehensible to praise a world as democratic in which sophisticated forms of privatization and deprivation of water are present in vast regions and countries. The privatization of water territories, ecosystems essential to the hydrosocial cycle, public water systems for human consumption and/or their management components, together with the disregard of territorial and democratic management of water by organized community systems, are corporate devices of dispossession of the material and immaterial heritage of communities.

This appeal calls for the presence and voice of Indigenous peoples, oppressed and repressed communities and peoples, peasant and popular urban communities, women who are the protagonists of struggles and actions of resistance and for the defense of water and life and in processes of community water management, union organizations, public water operators and users, based on their own words, experiences and lived practices, fundamental as alternatives to dispossession and privatization.

The Social Forum taking place in Geneva is of vital importance. We urge the different actors, countries, delegations, organizations and social movements present to focus the discussion on the relationship between the human right to water and world/global democracy and on frank discussion of the crisis of civilization, the climate emergency and the transitions necessary to preserve life on the planet.

Within the framework of the presentation of the United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation Pedro Arrojo-Agudo’s Report in New York in March 2023, we invite the active participation of social networks and organizations; their mobilization is essential. It is vital that the mobilization of alliances of social movements, public and/or community operators establishes a counterweight to the strong corporate lobby within the framework of the event and in favor of public and democratic management of water.

In the same way, we salute and express our support for the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and his call for the integrality of human rights. This call finds resonance with the observations made by the Rapporteurs of Environment, Indigenous peoples and Health aimed at the protection, respect and effective enjoyment of the human right to water, land and territory, housing, participation and the progressiveness of ESCER.

Participating and proposing.

It is urgent and necessary to maintain, deepen and find resonance in the dialogue between social movements that fight for water as a human right and a common good. It is also urgent that we create a common and democratic front to prevent the 2023 United Nations Water Conference from ending up as another forum co-opted by private interests and environmental predators.

Our organizations and networks will hold events in which we will spread this call and deliberate on alternatives. In Colombia, the eighth national meeting of community aqueducts of Colombia in defense of community water management was held from August 12-15, and we will hold the “Our Future is Public” conference in Chile, from November 29 – December 2 to raise public awareness and create political momentum around the importance of strong and innovative public services to ensure human rights and meet the challenges of the 21st century.

We must denounce the corporate water agenda and propose socio-ecological alternatives that allow the permanence of life on our planet and guarantee the well being of our communities and peoples. Join this global call.

African Water Commons Collective
Aigua és Vida, Catalonia
Asociación Española de Operadores Públicos de Abastecimiento y Saneamiento, Spain
Asociación Internacional de Ingeniería Sin Fronteras, Spain
Blue Planet Project, Canada
Corporación Ecológica y Cultural Penca de Sábila, Colombia
Emp’act, Switzerland 
ENDA, Colombia
Fundación Abril, Bolivia
Observatório Nacional dos Direitos à Água e ao Saneamento, ONDAS, Brazil
Red Agua Pública, Spain
Red Nacional de Acueductos Comunitarios, Colombia

International networks and organizations 

Africa Water Justice Network
Blue Planet Project
Ecumenical Water Network
European Water Movement
The Oakland Institute, USA
Peoples’ Water Forum
Plataforma de Acuerdos Público Comunitarios de las Américas, PAPC
Public Services International
Red Vigilancia Interamericana para la Defensa y Derecho al Agua, REDVIDA

To add your organization to this call, please email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

International protest against Belgian dam investor who threatens river activists in Bosnia-Herzegovina

12 October, 2022

Today, 140 organizations and groups from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), numerous other European countries and USA sent an open letter to the diplomatic representatives of Belgium, the Head of EU Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and other relevant international institutions to voice their strong concern over the activities of the Belgian-based company Green Invest and its subsidiary in BiH, BUK d.o.o, who operates one small hydropower plant on the Kasindolska river in Istočno Sarajevo, BiH. Green Invest/BUK d.o.o. filed defamation lawsuits against two young Bosnian female activists (law students, age 25), who have spoken out publicly about the environmental impact of the hydropower plants on the Kasindolska river and its surrounding environment.

We consider these lawsuits to be Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPPs), which are increasingly used by politicians and corporations to intimidate environmental activists and censor criticism. The two young women were targeted by Green Invest/BUK d.o.o. for standing up for their communities and their river and the lawsuit is a clear attempt to silence them and discourage others from speaking out,” said Lejla Kusturica, from activist environmental organization ACT, BiH.


World Water Day letter


This World Water Day 2022 the European Water Movement calls EU institutions to support the Alternative World Water Forum 2022 in Dakar

Dear MEP,

World Water Day will be celebrated on 22 March to promote the Human Right to Water and Sanitation (HRWS) for all the people of the earth and in its preservation for future generations. From the European Water Movement (EWM) we strive to achieve its full implementation across the European Union and beyond the European continent.

This year the Alternative World Water Forum (FAME – Forum Alternatif Mondial de l’Eau) will be held in Dakar from 21 to 25 March against commodification of this common good. This Forum aims to give a voice to the populations of Africa and in the World that are suffering the most for lack of access to clean water and the infringement of the HRWS. Unfortunately we still witness an appropriation of this common good by private interests, especially by some multinational corporations of the water sector, and a poor control on water management and ownership by some public institutions.

On the occasion of other events, starting from the 2006 Forum of Mexico City, the European Parliament has taken positions in favour of the implementation of the HRWS. Similarly it supported in 2015 the demands presented on the occasion of European Citizens Initiative Right2Water. On 16 December 2020, the European Parliament formally adopted the revised Drinking Water Directive. The revision of the DWD is a response to the mobilisation that collected more than 1.8 million signatures in the first-ever successful ECI. The Directive entered in force on 12 January 2021, and Member States have two years to transpose it into national legislation. We believe that the EP must seize the opportunity to continue to work towards implementing the HRWS in each member state.

We call on MEPs to renew their support to the efforts for implementation of the HRWS. It is important that this focus is not lost in the neightbourgh policy of the EU where there are many issues to be raised in terms of extractivism and protection of water resources, like in the Balkans. But we think that is Particularly important the promotion of the human rights to water in the foreign action of the EU in regions such as the African continent. This is why we ask your support for the FAME 2022. Please, give us your support by signing this statement.

We would like to take this opportunity to request a meeting with you to discuss the need for a more proactive parliament in defense of the HRWS. After two years of pandemic and social restrictions, we believe the issue of universal water should be back on the agenda, something that unfortunately does not seem to be in the agenda of the European Commission. Therefore we propose a meeting with representatives of the secretariat of the EWM between 10th, 11th and 12th of May 2022.

We look forward to your response,

European Water Movement

Stop Competition Bill – No privatization of water services


Open letter of the European Water Movement to the Italian and European parliamentarians

As European Water Movement we confirm our firm commitment against privatization and the water grabbing of water resources.

In this regard we express great concern for the European policy in favour of private players, as defined in the Next Generation EU and in the related national Recovery Plans. In particular, sharing the assessments and the initiatives of the Italian Forum of Water Movements (Forum Italiano dei Movimenti per l’Acqua), we express concern for Italy that, through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) and the connected Competition Bill (DDL Concorrenza), is preparing a context unbalanced in favour of the privatization of local public services.

Regarding water sector, the PNRR aims to achieve a restructuration based on enlargement towards the South, but not only, of the territory of competence of some big multiservice companies listed on the Stock Exchange identified as “efficient” operators, but actually resulted such only by assuring maximization of profits through financial processes.

Connected to the PNRR, the Competition Bill aims explicitly to remove regulatory and administrative barriers to market opening. In particular, article 6 aims to definitively rely essential services on the market, making their public government residual, so that local governments who would opt for such an option will have to literally “justify” their missed recourse to the market.


Letter to the MEPs on the MEP Water Group

In mid November a group of MEPs tried to relaunch a lobby group inside the European Parliament that pretends to be water related. However, the stated aim of this group of MEPs does not consider the effort of European civil society for the past decade to achieve the human right to water at the European level.

The MEP Water Group is composed by some MEPs that have a terrible track record on the promotion of a human right based approach for water and they seemed to be more concerned about the interests of lobby groups and industry.

The European water movement has sent a letter to the members of the European Parliament clarifying the issue and demanding that the EU recognises water as a human right, like almost two million citizens demanded ten years ago during the first ever ECI. We have also demanded for a clear position against the quotation of water in the stock market as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to water and sanitation concerned.

We will continue to demand, as our Naples chart states, the recognition and implementation of the human right to drinking water and sanitation as necessary for life. Access to water as a universal human right should be included in all constitutions of member states, and in the basic principles and acts of the European Union and that Water is to be excluded from all international trade agreements, including the treaties of the World Trade Organisation and to be excluded from the internal market rules of the European Union. The MEP Water Group does not neither of them. 

See the letter here :

Dear MEPs,

In the name of the European Water Movement we would like to inform you that the initiative of the MEP Water Group does not recognize as a priority that water is a human right, as recognized by the UN, through the Resolution 64/292 adopted in 2010.

We call the members of the MEP Water Group and the members of the European Parliament as a whole to consider, recognize and implement the right to water, as requested by nearly two million people in 2013 through the European Citizens Initiative. We remind you of the three pillars of the ECI, which have still not been implemented in EU law:

  • Guaranteed water and sanitation for all in Europe as a Human Right and common good.
  • No liberalisation of water services. It also means the exclusion of water from trade and investment agreements.
  • Universal (Global) access to water and sanitation.

We would also like to draw to your attention the need to consider water as a public good, a human right and a common good that you fail to address in the MEP Water Group mission statement. We believe it would be more appropriate to work for a statement against quotation of water in the stock market. To this regard, we remind you of the grave concern expressed by the UN Special Rapporteur for the Human Right to Water and Sanitation and the European civil society that contrasts with the unacceptable silence of EU institutions.

We would be happy to exchange on this issue,