They marched alongside the people to the Parliament’s headquarters, and submitted 200,000 signatures to the Legislative Assembly, urging the passing of a law to protect water as a common good. The protagonists of this event are the bishops of El Salvador, led by the President of the Bishops’ Conference (CEDES) and Archbishop of San Salvador, Mgr. José Luis Escobar Alas, and by Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez, Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador. The march took place yesterday at the end of a long battle in which the bishops took the side of their people. The document read out yesterday decries “the critical situation of water in our country” and the little progress that has been made in the adoption of a framework law on access to water, which must be recognized as a human right, in accordance with the Salvadorian Constitution.
The bishops recall that the first proposal to this end dates back to 2006. “We – the cover letter addressed to the Legislative Assembly reads – together with 89.2% of our people, according to a survey carried out by the ‘José Simeón Cañas’ Central American University in 2017, recognize that water is a source of life, a social good, a human right, and a precondition for the realisation of other fundamental rights. Consequently, we, together with 71.2% of our people (according to the above-mentioned survey) think that it is the obligation of the State, and not of private bodies, to ensure that the whole population has equitable, efficient and sustainable access to this vital resource”. According to the document: “Without sufficient and good quality water, there can be no possibility of development for our country, nor prosperity for our people. The dramatic water crisis in El Salvador, in terms of availability, quality and access, is widely recognized and scientifically documented”. Despite this, “MPs who have served during the four previous parliamentary terms have not fulfilled their duty” of protecting this human right. Hence the request to approve the proposal jointly submitted by the Catholic Church, the Central American University, the Office of the Procurator for the Defence of Human Rights, Protestant communities, and other civil society organizations. The request was backed by 200,000 signatures, which are many in a country of 6 million inhabitants.