Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Detroit's Water War Continues

UN human rights officials have condemned local authorities of the US city of Detroit for cutting off water supplies to thousands of residents over unpaid bills. De Albuquerque and Leilani Farha, the UN special rapporteur on adequate housing, arrived in Detroit to conduct an inquiry into the city’s water shut-offs.

“We were shocked, impressed by the proportions of the disconnections and by the way that it is affecting the weakest, the poorest and the most vulnerable,” Catarina de Albuquerque, the UN special rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, said during a news conference on Monday.

Detroit has closed the taps for more than 27,000 people this year, with as many as 10,000 households at present without running water. Hundreds of thousands of more people are at risk of having their water connections disconnected.

UN special rapporteurs de Albuquerque and Farha said that water bills are becoming increasingly unaffordable, forcing residents to make impossible choices between paying their bills or their rent. They added that the situation is worsened by gross errors on water bills and costs of leakage from crumbling infrastructure.

"It is contrary to human rights to disconnect water from people who simply do not have the means to pay their bills," de Albuquerque said.

No comments: