Thursday, 26 February 2009

Water as a human right

If you, or any of your network are interested, there is a national organisation starting up called the Australian Water Network. The AWN will be launched in Sydney on 2 April by Canadian activist and author, Maude Barlow, who is also Patron of AWN.

Maude is leading the charge to have water declared a human right. A grand plan one might think. Maude Barlow has been appointed Senior Advisor on Water Issues by the President of the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann. She is hard at work on devising an international instrument to ensure water as a human right across the globe.

The way UN Conventions work - and I am assuming that this is the direction that Maude is taking - is that when a Convention is declared, then State Parties (that is nations like Australia) can choose to ratify the Conventions. All Conventions are not ratified by all countries - and you might be surprised at what Australia has not ratified. When a State Party ratifies, they then undertake to introduce enabling legislation at the national level. Again, this does not always happen. And there can be great delays between ratification and legislation and its implementation. So that is the top down way.

And guess what? There is a class of people who already have their right to clean water guaranteed by a UN Convention. They are children. The Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Currently, Australians have another avenue open to them. There is a Human Rights Consultation underway. Check it all out at this site: www.humanrightsconsultation.gov.au. Register to attend the Consultation when it comes to your town or suburb or city. Put in a written submission. Unsure of what to say? You might like to join the Australian Water Network for support.

Just contact me for details (see below). Let us make water a major issue in this nation by starting with telling the Human Rights Consultation exactly what we think. When the UN gets up an instrument for water as a human right, it will bring this right to individuals across the world. Here in Australia, we have the opportunity now to bring this right to people everywhere across Australia.

AWN does not, as yet, have a website but it does have a web presence in the form of a Google Group. Top of our list is water as a human right. If you or any of your network would like to join the Group please advise me of their email addresses and I will send out invitations - and they can join in the conversation. The site has only been going a few weeks and to date we have members in NSW, Victoria and South Australia. Contacts in other states and territories would be welcome.

For more information, pls contact:

Brigid Walsh (also known as Miss Eagle) 'misseaglesnetwork at gmail.com'


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