Canada has been chastised on World Water Day for undermining the right to water by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation. The Rapporteur openly criticized Canada for “proposing the removal of an explicit reference to the right to water and sanitation for all from the first draft of the ‘Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development’ outcome document.”
The Council of Canadians is in New York this week for the session on Rio+20 where this story emerged and is available for comment.
This is an extremely rare departure from protocol and diplomatic language. The fact that Rapporteur Catarina de Albuquerque felt compelled to name Canada underscores the extremes to which the Canadian government is going in its controversial effort to weaken the legally binding UN recognition of the right to water and sanitation. It further demonstrates how increasingly isolated Canada is on the world stage.
“States are wasting their time on re-negotiating their own decisions rather than moving forward to implement the right to water and sanitation for all,” she cautioned. “We should be marking World Water Day with progress, not debating semantics and certainly not back-tracking on these issues.”
The full text of the Rapporteur’s media release on this is available from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.