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NEWS: UN expert on water visits the United States, Feb. 22 to March 4

De Albuquerque and Sisk-Franco in northern California

De Albuquerque and Sisk-Franco in northern California

The United Nations Independent Expert on the human right to water and sanitation Catarina de Albuquerque is currently on a fact-finding mission in the United States. Her US visit includes stops in Washington, Boston, Sacramento, and to the Winnemem Wintu in northern California. De Albuquerque’s findings will be presented in a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

De Albuquerque says of her trip, “As a world leader in foreign aid to the water and sanitation sectors, the United States in a unique position to promote these human rights. I will also closely examine the domestic situation, including challenges in access to safe drinking water and sanitation for low-income groups, minority groups, homeless people, and Native American communities. This mission will particularly consider the situation of the most vulnerable groups with a special emphasis on the human rights principles of equality, non-discrimination, participation and accountability.”

The Cape Cod Times reports that on Saturday February 26 she spoke at a forum titled, ‘Drinking Water and Wastewater Sanitation on Cape Cod’, and that she also spoke at the Statehouse on appropriate technologies for wastewater treatment in Cape Cod. More at http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110225/NEWS/110229872.

A blog in the High Country News reports that the Winnemem Wintu Tribe in the village of Tuiimyali, outside Redding, California, welcomed de Albuquerque on February 27. Caleen Sisk-Franco, the tribe’s chief and spiritual leader, told de Albuquerque “about the various threats to the tribe’s cultural practices, from a hydroelectric project that reduces the flow of their river to a proposal to raise the Shasta Dam an additional 18.5 feet, which would flood what’s left of the tribe’s sacred places — rock formations, pools and meadows that are integral to the tribe’s religious practices. …In her visit to the Winnemem…de Albuquerque gained insight into the tribe’s unique view on the human right to water and how it intersects with their religious and cultural freedoms.” More at http://www.hcn.org/hcn/greenjustice/blog/u.n.-human-rights-expert-visits-california-tribe.

Redding.com adds that, “A United Nations expert on water rights is coming to the north state on (February 27-28) to hear about McCloud residents’ successful campaign against Nestle. Catarina de Albuquerque…will listen as representatives from the McCloud Watershed Council and Winnemem Wintu tribe explain how they defeated an attempt by Nestle to obtain local water for their bottled water products.” That’s at http://www.redding.com/news/2011/feb/26/no-headline—north_state_in_brief/.

A media release from the Chickaloon Native Village, a federally-recognized Athabascan Indian Tribal government in Alaska, says that they, “filed a communication to the United Nations Independent Expert on the human right to water and sanitation in conjunction with her first official visit to the United States… Chickaloon Village’s submission asserts that the new open-pit coal strip mine in its traditional territory proposed by the Usibelli Corporation would contaminate local drinking water sources as well as rivers, streams and groundwater that support salmon, moose and other animals and plants vital for subsistence, religious and cultural practices. The US Federal Government and the State of Alaska have, to date, not responded to Chickaloon’s firmly-stated opposition to the mine.” More on this at http://www.sitnews.us/0211News/022811/022811_chickaloon.html.

KPSP in Sacramento, California reports that, “Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez joined with other legislators, safe water advocates, concerned residents and a UN expert at the State Capitol Monday to announce a package of bills to ensure clean drinking water for all Californians. The six-bill package is an unprecedented legislative collaboration that includes making the human right to water a policy of the state.” More at http://www.kpsplocal2.com/Content/Headlines/story/Assemblyman-Manuel-P-rez-Announces-Water-Safety/dtDlDcEV30e3c-aZyxZUgA.cspx.

And the Sandwich Broadsider reports that, “On March 3, she is scheduled to take part in a hearing held by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. Congress.” More on this at http://www.wickedlocal.com/sandwich/newsnow/x1054069409/UN-drinking-water-expert-to-visit-Falmouth-Saturday#axzz1FLyayqqA.