Justice Groups Demand Right to Food and Water in El Salvador

The letter, signed by 132 groups from 18 countries, calls for the eradication of hunger in the Latin American nation.


Source: teleSUR English

Over 100 social justice movements from around the world have signed a letter demanding that the government of El Salvador enshrine the rights to food and water into the country’s constitution.

According to a press release Monday, 132 groups from 18 countries, representing — among other interests — immigration, environment and development, are calling for the eradication of hunger in the Latin American nation.

“El Salvador has made progress in reducing poverty but still faces multiple challenges in achieving sustainable development for all its citizens,” said Stephanie Burgos of Oxfam America. “Recognizing access to adequate food and clean water as constitutional rights will help focus efforts toward overcoming hunger, disease and poverty in the country.”

According to the letter, families living in poverty set aside three quarters of their income for food. Furthermore, at least 200,000 households in El Salvador have no running water.

The letter comes as Salvadoran groups push for the state to ratify a constitutional reform that would require the government to “create a policy of food and nutritional security for all residents” and “make use of and preserve water resources and ensure they are accessible to all residents,” which 85 percent of Salvadorans agree with, according to a 2015 poll.

The proposal is being backed by President Salvador Sanchez Ceren and the governing party Farabundo Marti Liberation Front (FMLN). However, the far-right National Republican Alliance (ARENA) party and others are obstructing the approval of the reform.

As Alexis Stoumbelis of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) explained, “The proposal to ratify food and water as constitutional rights was developed in consultation with a broad representation of Salvadoran society. So it’s a big concern to see a number of political parties and their legislators, backed by powerful special interests, simply ignoring their constituents’ demands.”

The Salvadorean Center for Technology Apropiation (CESTA), a national leading environmental organization, also criticized the stance adopted by ARENA and two other parties, claiming it was politcally motivated and did not consider the needs and worries of the Salvadorean people.

El Salvador is the third most unequal country in Latin America and the Caribbean for access to water, the United Nations Development Program says.