Friday the 26th of February

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Bishops of El Salvador warn against privatising water

El Salvador’s bishops urged lawmakers to discard any plans for privatising water in the Central American country, saying the poor could not afford to pay the cost of a vital necessity.

In a terse statement, issued on 12th June and titled, We will not allow the poor to die of thirst, the Salvadoran bishops’ conference cited Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home, which said, ‘Access to potable and secure water is a basic, fundamental and universal human right because it determines the survival of people and therefore is a condition for the exercising of all other rights.’

The bishops continued: ‘As pastors, we are witnesses to the outcry of our people, who ask for potable water in all homes and could not pay the costs if (water) is turned into a good, which is subject to market forces.’

El Salvador’s legislature is starting debate on a national water law. The legislation is proving controversial because some lawmakers favour increased private-sector participation in water management.

Picture: A woman and child sit in front of water poster in San Salvador, El Salvador, on 24th July 2017. The country’s bishops urged lawmakers to discard any plans for privatising water on 12th June, saying the poor could not afford to pay the cost of a vital necessity. (CNS photo/Jose Cabezas, Reuters).