Monday, August 8, 2011

Briefing note by David Boyd on the human right to water


briefing note by Professor David Boyd on the human right to water has been published following the InterAction Council's initiative on the global water cirisis reported in a previous post.

Particularly interesting is the brief review of Canada's opposition to the international recognition of the human right to water. In identifying the reason for Canada's position on this subject, Prof. Boyd states that:

«The more likely rationale is (...) that Canada is failing to meet its obligation to respect, protect, and fulfill the right to water. Thousands of Canadians lack access to safe drinking water, predominantly Aboriginal people living on reserves. The federal government estimates that there are approximately 5,000 homes in First Nations communities (representing an estimated 20,000+ residents) that lack basic water and sewage services. Compared to other Canadians, First Nations’ homes are 90 times more likely to be without running water. As of 2010, 49 First Nations communities have high-risk drinking water systems and more than 100 First Nations face ongoing boil water advisories (out of roughly 600 First Nations in Canada). The federal government admits that “The incidence of waterborne diseases is several times higher in First Nations communities than in the general population, in part because of the inadequate or non-existent water treatment systems.” Many of these deplorable situations have been dragging on for years and in some cases decades.» (References omitted)

Of note is the fact that the McGill Law Journal will soon publish the following article referenced as endnote 53 in the briefing paper:

D.R. Boyd. 2011. “No Taps, No Toilets: First Nations and the Constitutional Right to Water in Canada,” McGill Law Journal, in press.

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