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NEWS: De Albuquerque issues warning memo to US city on the right to water and sanitation

The Sacramento Press reports, “Catarina de Albuquerque, the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation for the United Nations human right council, has issued a four-page memo warning Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson that local officials could be violating the human rights of the homeless people living within the city. In the January 23rd dated letter, de Albuquerque says that the current policy of evicting the homeless from their ‘tent cities’ and denying the homeless with safe access to clean water is, in effect, prohibited discrimination based on their economic and social status.”

“The United States publicly declared that it was ‘proud to take the significant step of joining consensus’ towards endorsing water and sanitation as a human right in September of 2010. …De Albuquerque reminded Johnson in her letter that the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation is a protected freedom pursuant to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, an agreement which the US Government signed on October 5th, 1977.”

In September, prompted by earlier news reports about de Albuquerque’s concerns about the situation in Sacramento, we asked ‘Is Toronto violating the right to water and sanitation?’, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=10584. In November, we argued that the City of Regina had violated these human rights by directing the company we had leased a portable washroom from to remove that toilet from the Occupy Regina site in Victoria Park, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11830.

The Council of Canadians is developing plans to be able to take note of violations of the human right to water and sanitation in Canada and to bring those violations to the attention of de Albuquerque so that she might issue letters similar to the one she wrote to the mayor of Sacramento.

Our ‘Blue Communities Project’ calls on Canadian cities to recognize water as a human right, http://canadians.org/bluecommunities.