Protesters demand G8 leaders to declare water as a human right

Dozens of protesters asked the G8 leaders who have gathered in the Canadian town of Huntsville to take part in a Summit, to declare access to safe water as a fundamental human right.

Updated: Jun 26, 2010, 00:38 AM IST

Toronto: Dozens of protesters on Friday
asked the G8 leaders who have gathered in the Canadian town of
Huntsville to take part in a Summit, to declare access to safe
water as a fundamental human right.

The band of protesters carrying a few placards started
from a park at the water`s edge in Huntsville and marched a
short way down the main street escorted by police before
stopping to discuss where they were actually headed and then
turning around to go back the way they came.

They called the G8 leaders to declare safe water as a
fundamental human need and a basic human necessity.

Kate Heming, who represents the group of townspeople,
said it`s an especially important message coming from Muskoka.

"Here in Muskoka we`re the stewards of great amount of
water wealth," she said.

"We really have to learn how to take care and become
better stewards of the water that we live with here. This is
an example of this community stepping up and doing so."

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the host of
the G8 and G20 Summits, greeted the G8 leaders including US
President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron,
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Russian President
Dmitry Medvedev.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy; Germany`s chancellor
Angela Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan were other
leaders who are taking part in the Summit.

The leaders will figure out how to catch up on their
missed aid promises and find new ways to help the world`s
poorest nations at a time when their own budgets are squeezed.

The Group of Eight (G8) nations are short by an estimated USD
18 billion on a 2005 pledge to raise their combined aid to the
poorest countries by at least USD 50 billion.

Canada wants to ensure that donor countries follow
through on their commitments. Canada also wants the rebuilding
of Haiti from a devastating earthquake to be the focus,
officials said. Haiti was invited to attend the G8 meeting
along with Jamaica and African nations Senegal, Algeria,
Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt.

The meetings take place amid a blanket of security
throughout and around the small town and as controversy swirls
in Toronto about whether the police are over-stepping their;
security plans to control protesters.

The course of global economic recovery, particularly
the debate over stimulus spending vs. deficit cutting
;financial system reform, including bank capital standards and
oversight ;the imposition of a tax on banks to cover future
bailouts ; and climate change.

Canada is expected to invest between USD 2 billion and
USD 3 billion in Prime Minister Stephen Harper`s "signature
initiative" at the G8 summit to raise world funds for maternal
and child health.

Canada`s "Signature initiative" is getting support
from some of the G20 countries, Dimitri Soudas, spokesman of
the Canadian Prime Minister told journalists in response to a
question whether India support this initiative.

The goal for mother-and-child health is seen as a
particular concern with the World Bank reporting "fragile and
uneven" progress in reducing maternal deaths, a major burden
for countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Earlier, cloudy drizzly weather greeted leaders of the
G8 as they flew into Huntsville in Ontario. Security at the
Deerhurst Resort where the meetings was being held was tight
with dozens of police officers lining the roads into the
resort and two sets of fences snaking along the perimeter.

Some of the top items on today`s agenda include
African outreach, the BP oil spill, and the ongoing war in
Afghanistan with both Canada and the US losing their top

Negotiators for the G8 leaders are said to have made
large strides in the pre-summit legwork on the issues of
peace, security and maternal health in developing nations.