Charles Hookimaw’s submission to the international organization aims to hold ‘Canada’ accountable: ‘It’s been dragging on too long’
An Attawapiskat member has submitted a 500-page human rights complaint to the United Nations over his First Nation’s lack of access to clean drinking water. For months, Charles Hookimaw has been working with lawyers to draft a document and recently mailed it to Geneva, where it is set to be considered by the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
In the complaint, he details his community’s decades-long struggle with tainted water — and he’s hoping to speak on the matter before their permanent forum on Indigenous People. As “Canada” vies for a spot on the UNHRC, experts say the complaint could be a small step towards more equitable access to drinking water.
“If nobody says anything, nothing’s gonna happen, if we just continue to ignore and turn a blind eye,” Hookimaw said in an interview. “Our needs are barely being met, and they have to be addressed with a good solution and a long-term solution.”
‘This is not right. This is not fair’
Earlier in January, a carpet of snow blanketed Attawapiskat as Hookimaw lugged a sled laden with three large jugs to the water treatment plant at the centre of his reserve.