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Canada Declares Support for Human Right to Water

May 31st, 2012

In a surprising turnaround, Canada bowed to years of national and international pressure, deciding at last to recognize the human right to water and sanitation.

The Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest social justice advocacy organization, has campaigned for more than a decade to ensure the human right to water, and posted this response to the announcement on their website:

As recently as last month, Canada was isolated in the Rio+20 negotiations as the only country to publicly claim there is no legal basis for the right and call for its deletion. This position was untenable, however, almost two years after the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution recognizing the right (GA Res. A/64/292) followed by three subsequent confirming Human Rights Council resolutions.

Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and a former UN Senior Advisor on Water to the President of the General Assembly, says, “It took unprecedented pressure to get this government to change its position, and the shift is a good thing, but words are not enough. We need actions, and the government’s actions directly contradict respect for the human right to water.”

The Council has consistently asked Canadian governments to show their commitment to water by implementing a national water act including a domestic plan of action on the human right to water. The Council of Canadians looks forward to the government providing a clear plan of what it intends to do to meet its international and domestic obligations with regard to the human right to water and sanitation.

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