OTTAWA, April 28 /CNW/ - The Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Amnesty
International Canada and the Council of Canadians are calling on all
political parties to recognize explicitly the human right to water and
sanitation and to commit to ensuring that Canada meets its obligations
in upholding these rights for people in Canada.
On July 28, 2010, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a
resolution recognizing the right to clean and safe drinking water and
sanitation. Canada and a small number of other countries abstained from
the vote while the resolution was strongly supported by African, Asian
and Latin American countries. On September 30, 2010, the UN Human
Rights Council affirmed that the right to water and sanitation is
already established in international law under legally-binding UN human
Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians chairperson and former Senior Advisor
on Water to the 63rd President of the UN General Assembly, says, "The
United Nations has already recognized water and sanitation as a human
right, which means that every government must now come up with a plan
of action based on the 'obligation to respect, protect and fulfill'
these rights. I call on the next federal government to explicitly
recognize these rights and for all political parties to outline what
they will do to ensure that Canada meets its obligations."
AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo stated, "We have made health
and safety one of our priorities in this federal election with access
to safe and potable water as a basic human right. Unfortunately, we
still have over a hundred communities operating under boil-water
advisories. First Nations have inherent rights to water in their
traditional territories and these rights were never given up. First
Nation leaders have called for Canada to respect the Aboriginal and
Treaty right to clean drinking water and want to work in partnership
with the next government on this priority, consistent with the
principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.''
Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve says, "Canada
has lost its standing as a world leader in pressing for human rights.
One of the most blatant failings has been in respect to the situation
of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Canada should recognize that clean,
drinkable water and sanitation are basic human rights. Canada should
also act to ensure that these rights are respected, protected and
fulfilled in Canada by working with First Nations communities to
address their urgent water and sanitation needs."
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN and National Chief Atleo
on Twitter @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms and @NCAtleo.
SOURCE COUNCIL OF CANADIANS
For further information:
Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer (613) 241-6789, ext 382 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dylan Penner, media officer, Council of Canadians, (613)795-8685 or email@example.com, Twitter: @CouncilofCDNs
Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media and External Communications Officer, Amnesty International, (416) 363-9933 ext 332 or (416) 904-7158