UN to decide on urgent need to declare water a human right, Canada continues to block efforts

Council of Canadians, E-Newsletter, July 16, 2010

Before the end of July, the UN General Assembly is expected to decide on a draft resolution declaring the human right to “safe and clean drinking water and sanitation.” The resolution is being presented by the Bolivian government and has been endorsed by several other countries.

The Canadian government, however, has not supported the resolution and may even be lobbying other countries to weaken it. The Canadian government has a long history of blocking a UN resolution on the right to water, even though it is urgently needed to stop water privatization and to ensure governments provide access to clean drinking water for people within their borders.

For many years, the water justice movement, including the Council of Canadians’ Blue Planet Project, has been calling for UN leadership on this critical issue. “When the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights was written, no one could foresee a day when water would be a contested area,” said Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians in a recent media release. “But in 2010, it is not an exaggeration to say that the lack of access to clean water is the greatest human rights violation in the world. Canadians need to be aware that the Harper government is one of the primary obstacles to the international recognition of the right to water.”

This resolution would recognize the right to water and sanitation for the 1.2 billion people without access to clean water and the 2.6 billion people without access to basic sanitation. Every eight seconds a child dies from preventable disease caused by drinking dirty water.

The Council of Canadians is calling on the Canadian government to support the resolution for the human right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation and to stop all efforts to modify or weaken it.

To read our recent media release on this issue go here.

To read a recent opinion editorial printed in The Toronto Star “A human right Canada rejects: Access to clean water” go here.

To read more about Canada’s shameful position on the right to water at the UN and how to take action, go here.

LINK to this e-newsletter : http://www.canadians.org/publications/subscribe/enews/2010/July16.html

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