Wednesday, 22 October 2014 00:00

United Nations: Detroit Water Shutoffs Violate Human Rights

Written by  Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele
Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) joins demonstrators protesting the actions of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department in Detroit on July 18, 2014. Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) joins demonstrators protesting the actions of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department in Detroit on July 18, 2014. Joshua Lott/Getty Images

After completing a fact-finding trip, the U.N. found that the city’s poorest residents are most affected by their lack of access to running water. There’s a new player in Detroit who wants to bring attention to how the city has shut off the running water in thousands of homes because residents have been unable to pay their water bill. The water shutoff caused an outcry earlier this year from folks who believe the city’s response was severe and inhumane. Now the United Nations has joined that chorus and stated that the water shutoffs violate human rights, Al-Jazeera is reporting.

“Disconnection of water services because of failure to pay due to lack of means constitutes a violation of the human right to water and other international human rights,” U.N. officials Catarina de Albuquerque and Leilani Farha wrote to Detroit officials in June.

On Monday the U.N. followed up that email with a press conference in Detroit, after having completed a fact-finding tour of the city. Officials wanted to see how several residents were coping without running water.

“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,” said de Albuquerque.

The impacted residents are happy that the U.N. is advocating on their behalf, since a lawsuit they filed against the city of Detroit was not successful. A judge ruled that “although ‘water is a necessary ingredient to sustaining life,’ residents nevertheless have no ‘enforceable right’ to water and that the city needed the revenue,” Al-Jazeera explained.

With flu season upon us, many people are scared that the lack of access to running water will become a public health issue, putting people in Detroit at risk of infection. Also, children who live in homes without running water are susceptible to being taken by child-protective services.

“I have had to train my children,” Theresa Clayton, a third-grade teacher in Detroit, explained as she recalled for Al-Jazeera what she tells her students about the child-protective issue. “‘If you do not have water, you cannot tell me ... because the people will come get you.’”

U.N. officials sent recommendations to the city on how to resolve the crisis. Chief among them: Reinstate the water supply for all of Detroit’s residents. “What I am calling for is a total prohibition of disconnections of people who cannot afford to pay, and people who are in a particularly vulnerable position,” said de Albuquerque.

Link to the original article from The Root

 

 

Read 1136 times

Featured News

  • 25 homes evacuate an unstoppable gas leak in another Ohio fracking 'incident' +

    Another day, another toxic spill thanks to fracking:   About 25 families in eastern Ohio have been unable to live in Read More
  • Cuomo to Ban Fracking in New York State, Citing Health Risks +

    ALBANY — The Cuomo administration announced Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State, ending years of uncertainty Read More
  • Climate Hope: Three Essential Green Books of the Year -- and a Poem +

    Three important new books in 2014 -- and an extraordinary poem -- stand out as essential reading for our climate change century Read More
  • TPP Media March +

    Join our TPP Twitter Storm. Everyone with a Twitter account can participate. The Twitter storm begins on Tuesday at 9pm Read More
  • Weak deal at Lima climate talks disappoints climate hawks +

    The U.N. climate summit kicked off two weeks ago with an unfamiliar sense of optimism, invigorated by the recent agreement Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26

Does Your Legislator Support the ERA

 

ERAMap