New York: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on all member states to integrate the right to water and sanitation into their body of laws, Xinhua reported on Thursday.
Ban`s statement came as he addressed the UN General Assembly during a plenary meeting on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation.
"Many of your governments have already included the rights to water and sanitation in your Constitutions and your domestic legislation," Ban said. "Those governments that have yet to do so should follow suit without delay."
He said that a lack of water and sanitation is widespread and often devastating around the globe.
"At any one time, close to half of all people in developing countries are suffering from health problems caused by poor water and sanitation," he said. "Together unclean water and poor sanitation are the world`s second biggest killers of children."
Ban said that it is important to remember that although water has been established in some settings as a "right”, this does not mean that it is supposed to be free.
"Rather, it means that water and sanitation services should be affordable and available for all, and that states must do everything in their power to make this happen," he explained.
The current drought and resulting humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa, Ban noted, serves as a reminder of the importance of water to the very survival of human beings.