201285 Denial of water by Governments in Africa: Elements of crimes

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 11:06 AM

Susannah Sirkin , Physicians for Human Rights, Deputy Director, Cambridge, MA
In Zimbabwe, an oppressive regime has compromised the health and lives of millions of people by its willful neglect of water, sewerage, and sanitation systems. The resulting preventable cholera epidemic in 2008 and 2009 can be assessed as an element of a crime against humanity, according to fact-finding and analysis by a team of public health professionals and human rights researchers. In Darfur, in contrast, intentional poisoning of wells and forced displacement of people from scarce water sources by government-backed militias can be seen as a war crime by the Government of Sudan. These two case studies based on research by Physicians for Human Rights demonstrate acts of omission and commission by governments who violate the basic human right to health and life by denial of access to clean water. Accountability for crimes and remedies will be proposed.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the situations concerning denial of water by governments in Africa. Describe potential remedies for these sessions.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work full time as a research coordinator, editor, and project manager as well as spokesperson on this topic; I have presented at APHA and other national medical and public health conferences for two decades.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.