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GP-US supports UN human rights resolution on clean water

Green Party urges endorsement of UN resolution declaring access to clean water a human right

Green Party leaders and candidates warn of danger to ecology, public health, and security because of water privatization and effects of global warming

Green Party leaders called for the US to support a United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) resolution declaring clean water a universal human right.

The US and Canada are the only two nations objecting to UN recognition of the right to water. The Green Party of Canada has also called for the Canadian government to endorse the resolution (http://www.greenparty.ca/en/releases/20.03.2008), which is currently under discussion at a UNHRC session in Geneva that will end on March 28

“The Green Party endorses the principle that unadulterated fresh water must always be publicly owned and freely available for public use. We support investment in public infrastructure to ensure safe and clean fresh water supplies and in sanitation projects in the US and around the world, with the creation of new jobs in water provision and conservation,” said Steve Alesch, Illinois Green candidate for Congress (District 13) (http://www.votesteve.org).

Greens foresee growing international conflict over access to clean water as the global climate continues to heat up and populations continue to grow. The party urges Americans to understand that privatization of water has already resulted in greater impoverishment and public health threats in Africa and Latin America, as well as an increase in cost and lower quality of services in the US.

“Trade agreements have allowed corporations to invest in poor countries by taking over publicly owned water utilities, driving up prices and restricting access,” said Carol Wolman, MD, Green candidate for Congress in California’s District 1 (http://www.carolwolmanforcongress.com). “People who cannot afford to pay for fresh water have sought it from unpurified sources, leading to outbreaks of dysentery, cholera, and other diseases. The Green Party has opposed privatization and has sharply criticized international trade deals like NAFTA and GATT and the antidemocratic power of the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, and other authorities.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubC095FCRYo]

Green leaders expressed fears that the US and other developed countries with high consumption levels will raid poorer nations’ water supplies, comparing the situation to the takeover of agricultural land in Latin America and Africa for the benefit of the US and other developed countries and to the detriment of local economies and access to food.

Many Canadians, including the Green Party of Canada, have objected to the prospect of bulk water exports to the United States under trade agreements like NAFTA and the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).

“Fresh water will become scarce in many parts of the world as glaciers and mountaintop snow vanish and rivers dry up because of global warming,” said Bob Kinsey, Green candidate for the US Senate in Colorado (http://www.kinseyforsenate.org). “Breakdowns caused by flooding, droughts, and storms related to global warming will deny millions of people access to fresh water and sanitation.”

“The immediate effects and aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf Coast are models for what we can expect. Fresh water supplies are already becoming stressed in the western US, with legal battles over water rights. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration has embraced the exploitation of these disasters and shortages for the sake of corporate profits, and trade pacts like NAFTA have enjoyed the support of leading Democratic and Republican politicians, including presidential candidates,” said Mr. Kinsey.

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