The Council of Canadians says First Nations shouldn't let the federal government off the hook when it comes to providing safe drinking water for all.

Maude Barlow, the council's national chairwoman, says the United Nations has recognized water and sanitation as a human right.

She said that means Ottawa is obligated to come up with a plan to fulfil that right, and yet dozens of First Nations communities continue to go without clean water.

Barlow made the comments Thursday at a session on community development and safety during the annual meeting of the Assembly of First Nations in Moncton, N.B.

A recent report to Parliament by the auditor general found that clean drinking water on First Nations — as well as education, adequate housing and child welfare — are all in an "unacceptable" state.

Barlow said there are more than 100 boil water advisories in effect on reserves and another 49 First Nations communities where boiling water doesn't make it safe enough for consumption.