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UPDATE: Barlow in Mexico (day five)

Maude Barlow is in Mexico to participate in the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on the impacts of dams, to visit Real de Catorce where a proposed mine threatens sacred land and local water, and to speak at a public forum in Mexico City on the right to water. This is her fifth blog from this trip.

Packed press conference in a large open air room. Many journalists as well as about 200 activists including many of our wonderful friends from Temaca.

I talked about the UN recognition of the right to water and how it appeared that Mexico was onside as it supported the General Assembly resolution and amended its constitution to add this right. But I said that the government was violating its own commitment with these new dams that violate the right to water of whole communities. Worse, they are building these dams in the name of the right to water to provide water for people in big cities.

I specifically referred to two planned local dams – Zapotillo and Arcediano – both of which are to supply water to Guadalajara. I said they can find this water through conservation, rainwater harvesting, pollution control and protection of source water, and investing in new pipes and infrastructure.

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I said it is a gross misrepresentation of the right to water to violate the rights of some communities to supply water to others and said that, in fact, it is the local people, especially indigenous people, who protect the water and know how to do this.

I called on the Mexican government to cancel these and other planned dams and implement a real plan of action to realize the right to water in Mexico, including regulations, legal instruments, and an institution to oversee the plan of action.

I ended with the cry “Temaca Viva!” and the room erupted in cheers.

More to come.

Maude’s first four blogs from this trip can be read at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=17816, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=17740, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=17779 and http://canadians.org/blog/?p=17810.