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NEWS: Barlow to address AFN water rights special session, March 5

The Digital Journal reports, “The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) will be hosting the AFN Water Conference on March 6-7, 2012 and the Water Rights special session, co-hosted by the Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations, on March 5, 2012 at the Marriott Edmonton River Cree Resort in Edmonton, Alberta.”

“The National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo describes the urgent concerns of the AFN with respect to fresh drinking water. ‘First Nations face increasing difficulties in accessing safe and clean drinking water. Water is a basic element of life that is essential to the overall health and economic well being of First Nations. With intensifying environmental pressures, a call for attention to the condition of our waters and the assertion of First Nations water rights and interests is increasingly important.'”

“(On Monday March 5), Lunch Speaker Maude Barlow will speak about The Human Right to Water.”

On July 14, 2011 the Canadian Press reported, “The United Nations has recognized water and sanitation as a human right, said Maude Barlow, the council’s national chairwoman, in a presentation to the Assembly of First Nations. Barlow said that means Ottawa is obligated under international law to come up with a plan to fulfil that right, and yet dozens of First Nations communities continue to go without clean water. ‘The federal government is in violation of this new international recognition,’ said Barlow, a former senior adviser on water with the UN General Assembly. ‘They have obligations to fulfil and we must not let them off the hook.’ Barlow was speaking at a session on community development and safety during the Assembly of First Nation’s 32nd annual meeting in Moncton.” That’s at

And on December 15, 2010, the Toronto Star reported on an Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly that took place in Gatineau, Quebec. Barlow addressed the meeting of nearly 1,000 First Nation chiefs and councillors. She spoke about water as a human right and how the Harper government has opposed this right at the United Nations, including abstaining at the historic vote at the General Assembly in July 2010. More on that – including her full speech – at

For more on the other topics and speakers at the AFN water conference, please go to