Slovenian parliament declares water as a right for all

The river Ljubljanica flowing through the capital of Slovenia Ljubljana. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Slovenia adapted its constitution to make access to drinking water a fundamental right for all citizens. The parliament in Slovenia recently adopted an amendment that declares the abundant water supplies are ‘a public good managed by the state’ and ‘not a market commodity’. With 64 votes in favour and none against, the 90-seat parliament added an article to the constitution saying everyone has the right to drinkable water.

Slovenian water has a very good quality and some Slovenians expect it to be the target of foreign countries and international corporations. Slovenia is the first country in the European Union to include the right to water in its constitution. In September 2015 the European Parliament stated that EU Member States have a duty to ensure free access to water for all. All European suppliers should provide safe drinking water and improve sanitation.

Amnesty International stated Slovenia must ensure the new law is also applied to the Roma people living in the country. According to Amnesty many are denied minimum levels of access to water and sanitation. Often the Roma are dependent of polluted streams. In 2014 two Roma families from Škocjan and Ribnica took the issue of lack of access to water to the European Court of Human Rights. The case Hudorovic v. Slovenia is currently pending before the Court.