OTTAWA, Nov. 17, 2011 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National
Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today welcomed all party support for
addressing the needs of First Nation communities requiring access to
clean, running water in their homes, and urged the Government of Canada
to work with First Nations on implementation.
"Access to safe, potable water and sanitation is a basic human right,
and I commend all parties for their acknowledgement that urgent
attention is required to ensure First Nation citizens have access to
clean, running water in their homes," said AFN National Chief Shawn
Atleo. "Report after report reveals the stark reality that the
situation is only getting worse. Now is the time to act and First
Nations are keen to work together with all levels of government in ways
that respect our rights and responsibilities and the principles of the
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, so we
can better ensure the safety of our people."
The motion, introduced by Liberal Leader Bob Rae in the House of Commons
today, calls on the Government of Canada to address on an urgent basis
the needs of First Nations communities whose members do not have access
to clean, running water in their homes, referring to the lack of access
as a disparity representing an "affront to our sense of justice and
fairness as Canadians".
In July 2011, the National Water Assessment revealed that 73 per cent of
water facilities were found to be in high and medium overall risk to
First Nations. This week, EcoJustice released "Waterproof 3 - Canada's
Drinking Water Report Card", which found that water quality in First
Nation communities remains far below that of other communities in
Canada and that there are few signs of improvement. In the report,
Ecojustice calls for concrete funding and a clear action plan to
address the failures of federal action.
There are currently 126 First Nation communities with drinking water
"Safe drinking water requires more than writing new regulations. It
requires infrastructure and facilities, skills, training and
resources," said National Chief Atleo. "We must work together to
develop a plan, supported by resources, that will actually achieve safe
and clean drinking water for our citizens and communities."
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada.
SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS
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